Skip navigation

Category Archives: Empathy

veterans

Life happens. People fight battles every day and show their truest and most vulnerable selves. However, not everyone returns or as they left, and those are to whom Honor Flights offers comfort, praise, encouragement, and surrounds them, as well as their friends and family, with support.

While waiting in Reagan National Airport, in Washington DC, to fly to my own father-in-law’s funeral, I witnessed an amazing thing.  As flights came in and out of the gates and people streamed to their destinations, people around me began to stand.  They moved closer to the center of the waiting area.  They began to clap and the noise of applause swelled as older men and women moved between them.

It was not a celebrity, although I certainly wondered what was going on and drawing so much attention, but more and more people moved to the middle of the space and lined several deep.  A long line of veterans filed past.  Some walking on their own, some in wheelchairs, and most accompanied by a family member or guardian.  Each wore a t-shirt that said that “Veteran” and the war that they had fought in.  Most had been embattled in Vietnam, but there were some from the Korean War as well as a few from World War II.  Personnel from all levels of service were present, and as I watched, hundreds and hundreds of soldiers continued to stream from the gates bringing them to Washington D.C. to tour Arlington Cemetery and the many memorials and museums.

Honor Flight ( https://www.honorflight.org/ )is a non-profit that brings veterans to Washington to see the war memorials, honor the fallen, and find comfort with their comrades, their brothers and sisters-in-arms.   They flew almost 21,000 veterans to the Nation’s Capital in 2016 and fly out of 131 hubs in 45 states across the United States.  Their waiting list is 28,000 strong.

I was unaware of their mission or organization.  Yet, standing there, observing the emotional and physical energy of those around me, it occurred to me how many of these men came home from Vietnam broken and dishonored.  The country did not support the war as a whole and many who fought were not welcomed kindly.

What a look of disbelief on the faces of those people almost fifty years later!  Applause and smiles surrounded them, the clapping and cheering growing in pace and sound.  It was such a moving experience to be a part of and feel the surge of pride and grateful thanks to those whose service has changed our country in profound ways.

Perhaps the experiences are heightened in Washington D.C. of every political downturn and bitter partisan expression.  This was a unified group of citizens, undefined by any distinguishing factor, who rose in a wave of compassion and gratitude for so many unsung and unheralded.

This was a homecoming most never experienced and a privilege for those of us who did not live in those times of conflict and fear.  It was a precious opportunity to thank our veterans, and their families, whose sacrifice was so acute and whose lives were forever changed.  I stood there for more than 30 minutes observing this crowd arriving, moving through the airport, and accepting the love and gratitude they had to wait almost fifty years to receive.  It was a powerful moment for these veterans and for those of us who stood to honor them.  It was indeed a privilege to thank them for their service and wish them well on the next part of their journey home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Your visit means so much to me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Advertisements

img_7892

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope that you enjoy your visit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

kindness_simple reminders.jpg

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope that you enjoy your visit.

There are so many changes in our world and fast-moving media with blaring criticisms, that we rarely hear about the small town pride and patriotism that can exist.

In small town Kensington, Maryland, one such event took place on July 4th.  Two roads were closed keeping a small park protected from traffic.  Parents brought their children on bikes, and in strollers, for a mid-morning July 4th parade on wheels.  Bicycles decorated with American flags and creative flourishes of red, white, and blue, mixed with strollers festooned with balloons and banners.  An ice cream truck was parked near the curb and parents sat with their toddlers on blankets on the grass.

At 11 a.m. the parade commenced. Children learned about their flag, their home, and country to develop pride, faith, history and about Independence of the national and freewheeling kind.

Red-faced, but happy, children walked hand-in-hand with their parents in the bright sunshine and high temperatures.  Warm, sticky, but glowing with fun and good cheer, memories were created and associated with a time of simple pleasures and gratitude for freedom and opportunity.

Observing the event, it did the same for me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope that you enjoy your visit!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

%d bloggers like this: