Baby Noor, the little Iraqi girl born with a severe spinal cord defect , arrived in Atlanta Saturday afternoon and moved a big step toward the medical care she needs to survive.
The baby?s grandmother cradled Noor in her arms as she stepped off an escalator and walked in the terminal of Hartsfield-Jackson International about 4:10 p.m.
The grandmother and Noor?s father walked past a bank of television cameras and met a metro Atlanta family that has agreed to house them for up to several months. The host family, who asked not to be named, gave the baby?s grandmother a fruit basket.
The father climbed into an SUV that quickly sped away. The grandmother accompanied the baby in an ambulance bound for Children?s Healthcare of Atlanta, where doctors planned an examination Saturday. Surgery could come within the next week or so.
The doctor who will perform surgery on Baby Noor ? born with spina bifida ? praised American troops, members of the 48th Brigade BCT, who found her.
?These are good guys and they went out of their way to make this happen,? said Dr. Roger Hudgins of Children?s Healthcare shortly before the plane arrived Saturday.
Members of the Gainesville-based Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment found the baby during a search of the family home in the slums of Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad.
?It?s an honor for us to be able to do this [surgery],? Hudgins told a gaggle of reporters and seven TV news cameramen at the airport.
Earlier Saturday, high above the clouds, Delta Air Lines Captain David Damare had something to tell the passengers on Flight 15 from Frankfurt to Atlanta.
All of Delta?s customers were special, he said. But Saturday there was a particularly special person on board. Her name was Noor al-Zahra.
She was three months old and traveling from her native Iraq all the way to Atlanta to receive surgery to correct a life-threatening problem in her spinal cord.
Noor left Baghdad on Friday with her father, Haider, and grandmother, Soad, for the long journey to America.
Cradled in Haider?s arms, Noor took off into clear blue skies in a C-130 military transport plane from Baghdad?s airport after soldiers of Gainesville-based Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment bade her farewell at their headquarters at Camp Liberty.
?We are very excited about this trip,? said Soad. ?We are thankful to the people of Georgia.?
However, once the reached Kuwait, they discovered that the KLM flight that was to take them to Amsterdam was canceled. U.S. Embassy officials rerouted the family on a Lufthansa flight through Frankfurt but because they are Iraqi citizens, they needed transit visas for Germany.
Early Saturday morning, U.S. officials were able to contact the German Embassy in Washington to issue clearance for the family to land in Frankfurt. In Frankfurt, the three boarded Delta Flight 15.
The family was put in business class. Noor was given a bassinette in which to sleep. Flight attendant Suzanne King gave Noor a teddy bear.
More good news to end 2005.? Happy New Year friends.