I had a moment today. A big one. A wow-I’m-living-an-Anheuser Busch-commercial kind of moment and it was fantastic.
After I tell the story, you might get the commercial reference, if not, I’ll catch you up at the end.
I’m at the airport. My husband notices and points out a young Marine who appears to have just arrived home. He is walking with one prosthetic leg. A second later, we see another young man – also with a prosthetic. And then a third. And a Marine in a wheelchair. Another one walking with a cane.
Within minutes we realize that this group of young men (there were no women with them) have just returned home. The airport has provided transportation for them from their gate to baggage claim (and likely beyond) and is in the process of helping them all into seats.
I stand up. I am debating: walk right over to them and say ‘thank you’ or wait patiently for an opportunity to give them an ovation. I waited. And it was worth the wait.
As the last Marine took a seat, myself, my husband and a few dozen people broke into a beautiful round of applause. Our clapping broke open the floodgates to more and more applause of gratitude. I started to cry. I could barely respond to the girl behind me who had been on her cell phone the entire time and wanted to know ‘what happened’.
I was proud to be a part of that moment. Those men (and women) should know we value the sacrifice they have made. Many are coming home wounded – both physically and emotionally, but they should never doubt that they are welcome and appreciated.
(Commercial explanation: a few years ago during a Super Bowl, AB aired a commercial much like my experience today. It highlighted military men and women walking through an airport. As they pass, one person after another begins to clap. My throat gets tight just thinking about it.) Ohhh…I found the commercial.
It still makes me cry. Especially in light of today.