November 11, 2009

In a small, dimly-lit airport...

Something for Veteran's day. A re-post of an old post from August 05, 2004...

This is a splendid story. I've been in dingy airports at 3AM, and the thought of one of those spooky dumps becoming a place of Grace is weird and beautiful...

3 A.M. With the VFW
By Sgt. Michael Thomas

...Thirty-six hours after our scheduled arrival, we landed in Bangor, Maine. It was 3 a.m. We were tired, hungry, and as desperate as we were to get to Colorado, our excitement was tainted with bitterness. While we were originally told our National Guard deployment would be mere months, here we were – 369 days later – frustrated and angry.

As I walked off the plane, I was taken aback: in the small, dimly-lit airport, a group of elderly veterans lined up to shake our hands. Some were standing, some confined to wheelchairs, all wore their uniform hats. Their now-feeble right hands arms stiffened in salutes, their left hands holding coffee, snacks and cell phones for us.

As I made my way through the line, each man thanking me for my service, I choked back tears. Here we were, returning from one year in Iraq where we had portable DVD players, three square meals and phones, being honored by men who had crawled through mud for years with little more than the occasional letter from home.

These soldiers – many of whom who had lost limbs and comrades – shook our hands proudly, as if our service could somehow rival their own....

This picture has nothing to do with the above story, I just put it in for my own satisfaction. (It's from an old post about the death of the last combat-wounded veteran of WWI. Link. My 77th division post is here.)

doughboys_argonne.jpg
Doughboys of the 77th divsion wait on the edge of the Argonne Forest, before the attack on September 26, 1918.

Posted by John Weidner at November 11, 2009 5:29 PM
Weblog by John Weidner