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Governor M. Jodi Rell (standing at upper left) helped to unveil the 'Welcome Home' Banner in Bradley International Airport on May 25
welcome home banner

Governor M. Jodi Rell, assisted by the mother of a U.S. Marine from Connecticut killed in action in Iraq, today unveiled a "Welcome Home" banner at Bradley International Airport that will greet all service members returning from tours of duty.

The banner, which will hang on the upper level of the newsection of Terminal A above the escalator/stairs leading to the baggage claim area, reads: "Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the state of Connecticut welcome home our troops. Thank you for your service."

The banner was suggested in an e-mail to the Governor from Mrs.Barbara Jimenez, the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. John T. Schmidt III, 21, of Brookfield, who died May 11, 2005, of combat injuries sufferedseveral weeks earlier in Al Anbar Province in Iraq. Today's ceremony at Bradley coincided with the two-year anniversary of Lance Cpl. Schmidt's burial services at Arlington National Cemetery.

"The best ideas are often based on simple observations," Governor Rell said. "After reading Ms. Jimenez's email, it made perfect sense that our troops should be welcomed home to Connecticut and the surrounding region in this appropriate manner. I hope the unveiling of the banner today will be an additional tribute to your son.

"We can never replace your loss, but we will always remember his sacrifice - and your sacrifice - and we hope some comfort may come from knowing this banner originated with you and your care and compassion forour troops," the Governor said.

"We cannot say it enough: Our men and women in the armed forces sacrifice their time, they put aside periods of their lives - and indeed sometimes even give their lives - in service to our country. They are all heroes. Their families and friends are heroes as well for their sacrifices and their dedication."

Two other banners will be displayed in prominent locations in the Windsor Locks airport - one on the lower level of the older section of Terminal A on the temporary construction wall in baggage claim, the other on the lower level of Terminal B in the baggage claim area.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Ralph J. Carpenter commented, "As Bradley International Airport is the gateway to not only Connecticut but the region, the Connecticut Department of Transportation is honored to utilize the Airport with this first 'welcome home' opportunity for the brave men and women of the armed forces who live and work among us."