In 14 years of travel, I've never seen anything like this...
As our aircraft pulled away from the jet bridge in Atlanta last night, the pilot stopped the aircraft, told people they could remove their seatbelts on the right side of the aircraft to look outside the windows on the left. As we looked outside those windows, there stood an entire workforce of Delta employees in their work attire, holding up the American flag and flags representing all branches of our military. Other Delta employees stood all about the tarmac saluting our aircraft as though we were literally Air Force One! The airport's fire engines and a few police vehicles were there with lights flashing. A patriotic painted Delta tote cart was there with a long line of patriotic painted luggage carts behind it. They were beautifully decorated with the American flag and images of soldiers in uniform. In the middle of the train was a different kind of "luggage cart". It was obvious that it was meant to carry a casket.
There was a brief moment of silence, and then the pilot came over the intercom and said this, "today our aircraft is honored and humbled to return a fallen soldier to his family in Salt Lake City. Would you please join me, your captain, in a moment of silence honoring he and his family for paying the ultimate sacrifice. Let's get him home to his wife and children."
It was a 3 1/2 hour flight. I don't know what others were thinking on that aircraft during that time and into this morning, but I have not slept! I am grateful to live where I live. Grateful for those who give up their freedom of life so that I can have mine. I think that it is something I've taken for granted. I hope that I'll never forget how I felt last night, playing a very small part in bringing this soldier home.
The Delta captain made us all feel as though we had a moral responsibility and duty to make sure that we got this young man home! Somehow, in a sense we all felt like we were temporarily soldiers not leaving a fallen soldier behind. It has kept me awake giving gratitude for those that sacrifice their freedom of life so that I can have mine. I hope that I'll never forget how I've felt these last few hours.
It has helped put the precious moments of today into perspective.
I hope it does the same for you.