Tens of Thousands Sign Petition to Rename Terminal for Fort Hood's 'Hug Lady'
By Richard Sisk
June 2, 2019
For 12 years, she was there for Fort Hood, Texas, troops going to and coming from deployments to combat zones with her engaging smile, words of comfort and, always, that great big hug -- maybe a half million of them.
FILE -- A soldier from the 1-112th Cavalry Regiment, 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, receives a hug from Elizabeth Laird before boarding a plane at Robert Gray Army Airfield on Sep. 13, 2015 in this file photo. Laird was commonly known as “The Hug Lady” at Fort Hood. (Randy Stillinger/U.S. Army)
Now, an online petition has been started requesting the Defense Department to rename the place that served as her second home -- the Fort Hood Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group terminal (A/DACG) -- for Elizabeth Corrine Laird, aka the "Hug Lady."
The petition, launched last Saturday on the Change.org for-profit petition platform, had gathered more than 63,000 signatures through mid-morning Thursday.
Laird, an Air Force veteran who enlisted in 1950, was a volunteer with the Salvation Army and began coming to the A/DACG in 2003 during the big deployments to Iraq. She continued until her death in 2015 at age 83, after a long battle with breast cancer.
At first, she offered handshakes, but that quickly progressed to hugs from “Miss Elizabeth,” of Copperas Cove, Texas. She would also hand out cards printed with Psalm 91, which says in part: "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day."
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