Here is my rememberance of that night.
I did not see the bank of phones that you saw, although you told me about them, and I made some calls from there later in the night. I was not the first guy down the ramp to the concourse, but I was probably 5 or 6 back from the first guy. We left our weapons and all our gear on the plane, and went down trhe ramp, hoping to find some phones or maybe a bite to eat in the concourse. I remember the VFW guys standing there and greeting people as they went past. I had just finished shaking their hands when the first guy down the ramp opened the swinging door to the concourse. Immediately, the place erupted in noise. Music came on and people started cheering. It was pure chaos, and it seemed like people were everywhere. Civilian guys were walking around with Budweiser long-necks, four in each hand between the fingers, handing them out to any GI with an empty hand. Kids were running around with white t-shirts on and permanant markers, and asking people for their autographs. Guys from our unit and others around us were crying, and it was just an amazing sight. Everybody wanted to talk to you and ask you where you where from and where you had been stationed. Kids kept coming up and asking me for a dog tag or one of my insignia. I remember I gave everything but one of my Lcpl collar insignia away, just so I wouldn't look like a private. I remember that song by Lee Greenwood (God Bless The USA) got played 3 or 4 times & people cried every time it did. I still get a little choked up when I hear it.
When the 2 hours were up, we boarded the plane, and I was numb for about an hour just trying to take the whole thing in an process what we had just been through. I have re-told that story so many times, and it always makes me smile, just like I am now when I am typing it. What an incredible experience.