Hundreds of residents clad in red, white, and blue filled the streets in Hingham this afternoon to welcome Lance Corporal Michael Leahy of the United States Marines home from Afghanistan, police said.
Leahy landed at Boston’s Logan International Airport and was escorted by Hingham police cruisers and fire trucks from the town line to his home in Beals Cove Village, said Hingham Fire Department Lieutenant David Jones.
More than 2,000 people gathered along the parade route, all trying to catch a glimpse of the hometown hero. The route ran through the entire town. Hingham Police Sergeant David Petitti said he “could not have asked for anything better.”
“I couldn’t have been more pleased,” Petitti said in a telephone interview this afternoon. “It was a great show of support. You had young kids all dressed up, waving flags. It was a great day.”
Linda Potts, Hingham and Cohasset’s veterans benefits administrator who organized the event, said she did it so residents could recognize this man’s bravery.
“It’s so they know that someone outside of their family recognizes that they did something bigger than themselves,” Potts said.
Leahy was deployed in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, where he served in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, Jones said.
Leahy’s family picked him up at Logan and drove him to Hingham, where residents cheered him along the nearly 8-mile route to his home,, Potts said.
Planning for the escort began last week. The town gathered along the streets of Hingham Tuesday night to celebrate his arrival, but Leahy’s flight from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was unexpectedly canceled due to weather.
His flight was rescheduled for today.
“We’re trying to let them know how important their service is, and that they understand that their contribution is worthy of a ‘Thank you’ and a handshake,” Potts said.
“He’s in Boston now, and that’s all that matters,” Potts added. “He’s home.”Catalina Gaitan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.