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The Camden arrives Monday

The USS Camden returns Monday, May 5, after participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom and it looks like its crew will receive a warm welcome.

The Bremerton Area and Port Orchard chambers of commerce, as well as many other regional organizations, have been busy planning to receive local heros in grand form.

“The officers, crew and families have made tremendous sacrifices over the past several months,” said Troy Summerill, chair of the Bremerton Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and general manager of Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. “It’s our turn to show them how much we appreciate what they have done and continue to do for us.”

The Port Orchard Chamber “adopted” the Camden last June and its members will be at Delta Pier inside the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to meet the ships’ crew, along with various dignitaries from throughout the county, the South Kitsap High School marching band, flag drill team and Navy Junior ROTC.

Members of the Bremerton Chamber and other volunteers spent yesterday tying patriotic ribbons throughout Bremerton. Its staff is also asking businesses to put “welcome” notices on their reader boards, hang red, white and blue ribbons on posts and trees around their shops, create patriotic window displays, wear red, white and blue on Monday and display the “Welcome Home” sign included in the Bremerton Chamber’s May newsletter.

While the public won’t all be allowed inside the shipyard for homecoming events, Melode Sapp, executive director of the Port Orchard Chamber says that just about anywhere along the waterfront will provide an excellent view as the ship arrives around 8 a.m. Monday. Sapp encourages everyone to wave flags from the shoreline, and to bring a tissue or two.

“Tears come quick and easy when you see so much joy,” Sapp said.

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