“Welcome and thank you for flying with us today.” We had just touched down and for being a two hour flight it seemed pretty long. Despite being in the exit row, my row was pretty crowded with a 6’2″, 350 lb private investigator and a 6′, 300 lb Star Wars fan (I knew because he was reading a Star Wars book and had the rebel and imperial logos tattooed on his forearms) and me squeezed in between.
As we taxied the intercom crackled to life again, “This is your captain speaking and I’d like to let you all know that we have a special guest flying with us today. He just finished a year tour in Iraq and is heading home.” Applause throughout the whole cabin started. Just about everyone was clapping and a couple people were even whistling.
“I would like to ask everyone to remain seated when we park at the terminal and allow this man to leave first so he can meet his family.”
“Bing Bing” and the seatbelt light went off. No one stood up. There was no bustle to try and get in the aisle first to open, cautiously as baggage may have shifted during flight, the overhead bins. There was applause as a single soldier stood up, modestly smiled, and quietly walked off the plane.
It was a small thing for someone who has sacrificed so much, but I hope that it showed that those of us who can’t know what he’s been through are at least keeping him in our thoughts.
Please take time this Memorial Day to remember the sacrifices the men and women in our armed services have made for us and are continuing to make.
This photo is of a wreath in front of the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to visit D.C. since this memorial was built it’s a beautiful site to see.