In Washington State or California, the nurses wearily walked down the exits and headed for the customs offices located at the military air terminals. Once they completed customs inspections, they found taxis to civilian airports. It was all routine. There were no signs, no one to say "Welcome home."
The taxi rides gave the nurses an opportunity to look at their homeland. Cars drove at fast speeds. There was no concertina wire. There were doors and pay telephones everywhere. "I went into the airport coffee shop for awhile," said one nurse. "I was amazed at the color and all the people coming and going. Baloney sandwiches and real coffee and cream! I didn't even have to sit in the back of the restaurant facing the door." Four nurses who flew home in their combat fatigues went into the first bathroom they could find and changed into civilian dresses. They threw their fatigues and combat boots into trash cans.
As children the nurses had listened to the war stories of their fathers and grandfathers. They heard about ticker-tape parades down Fifth Avenue in New York City and cheering dockside crowds in Boston and San Francisco. Embraces and tears and hugs greeted the "doughboys" and the "Yanks." As young girls, they had watched their relatives march with the local American