Photo Credit: Rachel Spinuzzi Photography
Last season, we started a series where experts answer your most pressing questions: everything from legal to education, protocol to emotional. We are going to continue this and to kick it off, we’re running one of our most popular. 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year, Reda Hicks, brilliantly weighed in on this question. Please submit your questions to our Facebook page!
‘Hi, I have a question. Is bringing a welcome home sign considered “not classy” when your spouse returns home? I am curious how many spouses, fiances, girlfriends and partners make signs for homecomings. I guess I am just a little down; I spent all this time working on one. Then the e FRG people, (who I am friends with on Facebook, but have never met in person), tell me that that is something that should be at home and that it’s ‘not classy’ to bring. Thoughts? I am discouraged. Thanks in advance.’
There are many things that we consider when planning the perfect homecoming for our service members, but I’ve never heard of “classy” being part of the calculus. Some particular units have rules/traditions about not bringing signs to homecoming. If your unit is one of them, then perhaps you shouldn’t bring a sign. Not because it’s “un-classy” (still weird to even say), but because you’re respecting local rules/traditions.
In my experience, though, the no-sign units are the exception, not the rule. Most homecomings are chock full of signs. Some of the signs are homemade by spouses and kids, some are produced by companies like Build-A-Sign free just for the occasion. The fact that BAS has given away 275,000 welcome home signs and banners since 2008 ought to give you an idea of how many people had the same thought as you did about how to make their service member’s welcome home memorable. And when I welcomed my husband home back in April, waiving a sign around like a crazy person, the majority of spouses were right along with me, and the walls of the hangar were plastered with banners. (Rule of thumb in our unit: large banners on the wall, signs in your hands; just a common courtesy since everyone wants to be able to see). In fact, our local FRG made signs for the single soldiers, too, so they would know someone was celebrating their return as well.
My advice is, find out from your local FRG whether, in fact, your unit is a “no-sign” unit based on rule or tradition. If so, then that’s something you should consider. If not, then sign away! Either way, pay no mind to the “friend” calling you “un-classy.” I’d say the only classless act in this scenario is making another military spouse feel bad about how she wants to make a service member’s homecoming special.