With my new travel schedule, I have certainly increased my time in the airports. Recently, while waiting to board, I started a conversation with a young man in uniform. Turns out he was flying to Atlanta on his way to Afghanistan. Since he was not allowed to consume beverages when deploying, he had to (regretfully) turn down my offer to send him cocktails on the plane. He did relay he had enjoyed many, many cocktails the night before and couldn't enjoy them on the plane even if he could enjoy them if you know what I mean. And I think you do.
When we boarded the plane, I asked the flight attendants if they would make a comment about him and the nature of his trip.
Once boarded, we had a mechanical issue and had to remain on the plane for over an hour while it was repaired. This makes people very, very pleasant. Once in the air, the pilot thought we could make up some time but in fact, we did not. As we began to descend, one flight attendant inquired how many people had connecting flights in Atlanta and 97% of the plane raised a hand. The pilot came on the PA and indicated the exact state of affairs. The exact state of affairs meaning most of the people on the flight would miss connecting flights. There were grumbles. Many people take it in stride (because smart people know that being obnoxious and overly vocal about a problem does little to resolve it) but some people were blatantly and angrily displaced by the news.
A few minutes later, one of the flight attendants got back on the PA and talked about the soldier I had mentioned. It was a thoughtful, witty and wonderful thank-you given to this young kid to which the majority of the crowd responds with whoops and cheers. Thank you. It really made missing a connecting flight pale in context.
Yesterday, I heard a conversation about war and US deployment. One man claimed, "but war is stupid." Well, that is saying something. It was weird that the word 'but' was included because it wasn't like the conversation went "War sounds fun...BUT it is stupid." War is tough. And dangerous. And irreversible. Thanks Smarty. No one thought it was a fun Saturday night where we dress in whipped cream bathing suits and tickle each other.
And listen, I know wrenches thrown in our schedules is never our first choice. I just think most of life is about perspective. And on Veterans Day I want to have this perspective: Missing flights sucks. No doubt about it. Guess what doesn't suck? People, other people as in NOT me who risk life to protect the freedom I so sweetly enjoy to talk openly about whatever I choose (including how preposterous it must feel at times to miss a flight.) I don't even know if I would have the moxie to suit up, furnish weapon and fight. Guess what else doesn't suck? That I will never have to know if I have the moxie because we are not required to join the armed forces in this country. So another thanks to men and women who are clearly braver than I.
We have the 2nd largest military in the world and it dates back to 1775. But, there are vets all around this globe as well as those actively serving in almost every country (seriously, not every country has military including Vatican City which we all know who runs that place and St. Lucia because it is really about sunbathing and tropical drinks there!)
Give a vet a thanks today. He or she has done, seen, and lived in ways I will never experience and I am ever grateful for it. I am also grateful for winning a beautiful Freedom lottery by being born in the USA.
Stars and Stripes forever.