For the past week I've been reading Band of Brothers (by Stephen Ambrose) of which the HBO series was based. PLUG: This is an AWESOME documentary of the 101st Airborne 506th PIR's E Company for those who haven't seen it or don't read ;)
Forgive me for saying so, but I find this book disturbing in the sense that it is a reminder to me of how often I forget what the men and women of our military have done and continue to do to ensure our freedom as a great nation. This book gives fabulous account of specific instances where these men were prepared to die for each other and our country. Their physical, mental and emotion trials, exhaustion and perseverance. The book alone has brought me to tears just thinking about the sacrifice.
It has also completely convicted me (in a good way) just thinking of the numerous times I've been on the mall by the memorials of DC (or anywhere for that matter...) and not even thought about their significance. We, as Americans, go to great length to build these memorials and make awesome movies...but in the end I feel I (and a large portion of our nation) has been "de-sensitized" (if you will) to the structures and the reality of the movies. I overlook what I am surrounded by on a daily basis (literally). I challenge anyone who reads this to never overlook our memorials to our freedom fighters ever again. I know I am using absolutes in that sentence...but seriously! (even if you just take 5 seconds) say a thank you prayer for those who commit/committed to make our nation one of freedom!
OK...on to the point of this blog topic. I was flying to Kansas City, Mo this weekend for Mary Ann Williams wedding (most fun wedding ever!). Brooke and I got to BWI for our 9:30 flight on Saturday morning and saw a group of about 50 men and women in BDU's (so of course Brooke made a really funny joke about this being "my kind of flight" haha! good one Brooke, sheesh!). There were also a lot of civilians standing around in bright yellow t-shirts. Since we were flying Southwest (plug: the coolest airline), the gate attendant let the leader of the t-shirts make an announcement. They were volunteers from a non-profit organization (http://www.honorflight.org/) that raises funds to bring Vets to see the National Memorials dedicated to their sacrifice. The plane was almost full of WWII veterans. These men (and a few women from the Navy nurse corps) had no idea that the Army had sent out a small detail to welcome them. Further, they had NO IDEA that the non-profit had past out flags AND that most of the airport terminal had gathered to welcome them. The crowds lined the mezzanine and terminal to clap, cheer, wave, and shake the hands of these men and women!
It was so moving!! Even now I am welling up thinking about just how emotional this was. When the Army detail were called at ease many of them wiped tears from their eyes! It really was so amazing to see these veterans brought to tears by the gratitude and sincere appreciation from the crowd. Lastly, the woman who checked us in on Southwest made a comment to Brooke and I (just after the non-profit guy made his announcement) in a flippant voice that "we're non that free"... At first I didn't think I heard her right and I smiled and we walked off. Brooke and I came to the conclusion that we did indeed hear her correctly and we could NOT believe she said that. The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get! It kills me to think that men and women are fighting for the freedom and way of life this ignorant woman is accustomed to despite her attitude (which she would not be able to express openly if it had not been for these men she was insulting)...but I guess that shows the difference in the character between our Military/Veterans and people like this woman! Good thing too :)