Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



I had an unusual experience while waiting to board my plane in Knoxville. On two different flights, soldiers in desert camouflage were amongst the passengers exiting the planes. Families (given special permission to pass the "Ticketed passengers only" line) waited with signs or balloons for their soldier to appear. As each soldier exited, the terminal erupted into applause, not only from the waiting families but from passengers waiting for other flights at other gates. I'd never seen anything like that before.

We also witnessed soldiers boarding planes, leaving their families. Children crying, wives giving their husbands quick, stiff-upper-lip pecks and trying to keep the tears away.

We had a couple of soldiers on our flight. One was met at the gate by wife and family. The one who exited right in front of me was subtly looking around, looking for someone, but no one was there. We moved off towards the baggage claim, our young soldier in front of us. As we crossed into the public area, he saw what he was looking for: a young woman holding a tiny, newborn baby swaddled in a blanket. They embraced for a long time as people passed around them. Kate and I started calling him "our soldier".

"I see our soldier on the escalator." Sure enough, there he was, coming to join the rest of the flight in waiting for baggage. He was cradling the baby, talking and looking much more relaxed than the tight-faced professional who exited the plane. I couldn't help stealing looks at them, a young couple, a new baby, a family relieved to be safe and together again, a father and a soldier who had been asked to do god knows what and who had done it and was allowed to come home. For how long?

Kate gave voice to my thoughts. "I hope he doesn't have to go back to war."

I thought about offering to take a photo of them, to commemorate this homecoming, and send it to them when I got it developed, but I didn't want to intrude. The stoic Scandinavian in me still clings to my upbringing, where you leave people alone to go about their business. We were not raised to applaud uninvited.

I hope President Bush enjoys his five weeks of vacation while our troops go on fighting his war. Now, more than ever, I feel "supporting" our troops means getting them home.


for this post

Blogger J.D. Says:

Great entry, Nik. Great entry.

Blogger Alan Kellogg Says:

Intrude. Take the dang picture, get his address, and send him the print when it's ready.

Or email the damn file.

There are times to be proper and times to butt in. Next time this happens butt in and make their day.

(I'm grumpy today. Must be the weather.)


Leave a Reply