War Hits Home For 87-Year-Old Woman - KMSP-TV

War Hits Home For 87-Year-Old Woman

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The war in Afghanistan has just entered its 13th bloody year making it the longest military conflict in U.S. history.

So it's easy for most of us to forget what's going on, half a world away, but for an 87-year-old woman from Philadelphia's Roxborough section, the war is front page news every day.

As the Welcome Home procession arrived on the 600 block of Renz Street, Helen Flanagan stayed out of the limelight peering out the window of her son's home at the excitement below.

Helen hadn't seen her 20-year-old grandson, Michael, since he shipped off to Afghanistan 9 months ago. But for this white-haired warrior, waiting and worrying is nothing new.

"My father was in World War I, and my husband was in World War II," Helen said.

Helen's son Dennis served in the army, and three of his sons including Michael are now active duty military.

"Well, you pray a lot. Let's put it that way," Helen said.

Private first class Michael Flanagan spent this year finding and defusing improvised explosive devices in the Kanduhar province of southern Afghanistan.

Safeguarding travel routes for others was dangerous, but rewarding, work.

"We just like to honestly blow stuff up. And once we find it we just blow it in place and it's just an awesome feeling!"

"You read a lot about Afghanistan which I didn't do before. So I felt that I kept up with him that way,"

Finally, Michael made his way inside.

"I think he looks wonderful. I really do. I really think he looks great, and I know he's glad to be home," Helen said.

As Michael waved goodbye to those who took the time to welcome him home, grandma paid a different kind of thanks.

Another Flanagan has come home from war...safe and sound.

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