Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What honor looks like: The flash mob at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport

From:  Dan B.
Sent: June 12, 2012
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: What honor looks like: The flash mob at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport
What honor looks like
WWII Vets with Honor Flight spontaneously cheered by travelers at Reagan National

Make sure to watch the video after reading the article. Sometimes airline travel can be rewarding in a surprising way.

What honor looks like: The flash mob at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport

By Chris Muller

Honor is a hard term to describe. It doesn't have a color or weight or
shape. If someone were to ask me what honor looked like, I'd probably
struggle with what to say.

But something happened on May 23, 2012 at 9:31 a.m. at Gate 38 of Reagan
National Airport that might change that. A flash mob of sorts broke out.
But not like you've seen on YouTube with highly choreographed dance numbers
or people singing a song in unison. In fact, virtually all of the
participants of this "flash mob" didn't know they would be participating
until moments before it happened.

Let me explain. Shortly before 9:30 over the loud speakers, a US Airways
gate attendant announced that an Honor Flight of World War II veterans
would be arriving momentarily and encouraged anyone passing by to help
greet them. Five or six people looked like they were officially part of
the welcoming committee, and the rest of the people in the secure section
of the airport were regular old travelers going somewhere. Then I had a
terrible thought. What if these veterans came off the plane and just those
five or six individuals were there to greet them. I walked a gate over to
help see the veterans out.

But - then it happened and frankly, I wasn't expecting it. All throughout
the terminal, people left their gates and gathered around gate 38. A few
active military personnel in plain clothes approached the gate attendant
and politely asked if they could join in the salute within the jet way as
the heros first stepped off the plane. Every human being in the terminal
stood at attention and faced the door.

Someone held up an old newspaper from 1945 that had a banner headline that
said, "Nazis Quit!" And when I saw that newspaper, I realized that World
War II wasn't just a chapter in a history book. It was men and women who
saw an evil like the world has never seen before and traveled across the
world to meet that evil. And they defeated it.

I wonder if in 1945, any of those brave soldiers could ever imagine that 67
years later, we'd still be basking in the freedom that they preserved.
And some of those heros were about to walk through Gate 38.

The first soldier walked through the door. Old, frail and needing help
walking. And every person I could see in the entire airport stood and
applauded. No - maybe cheered is more like it.

But here's the thing - the applause didn't stop. For a full 20 minutes, as
veteran by veteran stepped out of the jet way, the US Airways wing of
Reagan National Airport thundered in appreciation. Travelers stepped out
for the opportunity to shake their hand while others held back tears.

This is the America we picture in our heads. Heros getting a hero's
welcome and those who enjoy the freedom adequately conveying their

Now, I know what honor looks like.

Dad to some, Papa to others and Monk to the rest!!

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