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The “Hug Lady” Hugged Half a Million Soldiers At The Airport For 12 Years

Ann Moises

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A warm, sincere hug can convey messages that words alone can’t express. People hug out of love, joy, gratitude, compassion, relief, and fear.

Charlotte Charles, a character from the 2007 American comedy-drama TV series Pushing Daisies, said that a proper hug is like an “emotional Heimlich.” “Someone puts their arms around you and they give you a squeeze and all your fear and anxiety come shooting out of your mouth in a big wet wad and you can breathe again.”

For soldiers who always risk their lives fighting for their country, a hug could mean all those emotions combined. To receive a warm hug after months or years of living in uncertainty is probably like an emotional Heimlich—a gesture that reminds them that they’re home now and they’re safe. The war has, at least, temporarily ceased. And, to those about to be deployed, it could signify love and support.

Elizabeth Laird is a technically a stranger to all the soldiers who come and go at Ford Hood, an airbase in Gatesville, Texas.

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Photo credit: Viral Thread

But this 83-year-old woman made it her mission to hug each and every soldier who are about to be deployed for service.

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And when they return home, she’ll still be there, waiting with her arms wide to welcome them home. The soldiers tagged her as the “Hug Lady”.

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Photo credit: 143 D ESC/Flickr

She had been travelling untiringly to the airbase since soldiers were deployed to Iraq in 2003. For 12 years, she has probably hugged more than half a million military men and women.

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Photo credit: 143 D ESC/ Flickr

Until one day, they realized the kind and loving “Hug Lady” wasn’t at her usual post.

None of them knew that she had been fighting a battle of her own for the past 11 years. Elizabeth Laird— theHug Lady, has breast cancer.

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