This is how I know I’m a better writer than photographer…the following is from the journal I had with me today and both events occurred during my travels today from Texas to Kentucky. My camera was in its bag easily accessible, but at the particular moment I had to write my emotions, instead of capturing it in a picture. I hope you enjoy. I’ll post pictures for the Weekly Photo Challenge and other nonsense later; this is too important NOT to share.
Flight from Austin to Dallas/Fort Worth
While standing in line to proceed through TEA security, I noticed a uniformed man standing next to a woman holding a very small baby. Once I boarded the plane, I saw the man again. He was sitting in first class. Prior to take-off, the pilot announced the military man’s presence on our flight and the entire cabin erupted in cheers and applause. He was returning to Iraq to continue his second tour of duty. He had come to Texas to be with his wife as they welcomed the birth of their first child, a baby girl. This soldier left the war zone in the Middle East to meet his daughter, born on the Fourth of July.
The lump in my throat has NOT gone away.
How did you celebrate the holiday? I think I moaned and complained about the weather. My experience today provided a brand new perspective to freedom, independence, and priorities.
God bless the men and woman in uniform ~ every single one of them. I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a political person and I don’t give much thought to the multitude of reasons or causes of the war in the Middle East. I don’t try to understand the political-ness of the situation. However, the human-ness of the reality is that there are men and women away from their loved ones fighting for the freedom I take for granted. While I’m grateful to be a citizen of the U.S., it comes at a high price. The soldier I saw today got to spend 12 days with his baby girl, he won’t be home again until her first birthday.
To all of the men and women in uniform, all I can say is thank you.
An Act of Kindness
I arrived at DFW from Austin (yes, I drove south to fly north again – long story…) and had 40 minutes until the flight to Nashville departed. I grabbed a smoothie (peach sunset made with peaches, banana, strawberry, and orange juice – pretty tasty) and found a seat next to the window to people watch, one of my favorite things to do. Anyway, when I sat down there was another flight that had landed and passengers were beginning to walk into the gate area. An older gentleman, whom I immediately recognized as blind, was assisted by an airline employee. They stopped at the ticket counter so the employee could telephone a shuttle-cart to take the man to his connecting flight, departing from another terminal.
Now, I’m not blind and certainly able to transport myself through an airport, but DFW can be tricky, especially if your connecting flight is in a different terminal. Obviously, this man needed assistance. I was close enough to the ticket counter that I could hear them talking. I heard the blind man say,
I would prefer to walk instead of sit here and wait for someone to pick me up. You know, my eyes don’t work but my legs are fine.
While the employee was on the telephone, a woman approached the counter and offered to assist the blind man. I could hear her explain that her flight had been delayed and she had plenty of time to take the man wherever he needed to go. Of course, he jumped at the opportunity and was very appreciative. His face lit with joy and it warmed my heart.
These two strangers left the gate area as new friends. The woman was slightly ahead of the man but stayed closed enough so the man could keep his hand on her shoulder. He carried a white cane with his free hand. As they walked away from me, he stood so tall and proud, I’m sure he had a huge grin on his face. His joy was radiant, I couldn’t help but smile too.
My mom and I had made tentative plans after she picked me up from the Nashville Airport, but because of a delayed departure from DFW and a late arrival to Nashville, those plans were squashed. You know, that’s OK. We’ll have other opportunities…….it will be OK.
To top off the evening, I’ve already seen good friends and shared a delicious meal at one of my favorite places with Mom and Dad. We’ve told stories and laughed until we’ve cried. This is going to be a great visit, looking forward to what the next 14 days will bring.