In April I had a flight from Phoenix to Vegas. It was one of the last flights to leave from Phoenix that night. As I was waiting at the gate there was a lot of people gathering at the gate across the way and in the midst of them were a group of what appeared to be Junior ROTC members. They were junior high/high school age kids dressed in uniform. They formed two lines around the door of the gate. There was a general feeling of curiosity as to what was going on. Slowly more and more people gathered, including a slew of airport workers. I was beginning to wonder if some important politician was landing in Phoenix. As the doors opened and the plane passengers unboarded, it appeared to be any normal flight. No fanfare required. I thought that all of the passengers were off the plane as did the majority of the large audience. And then it happened, I heard something come from one of the young cadets and then saw an older couple coming down the lane, the crowd erupted in applause and I was still confused as I could not get a direct look and only saw their heads. The applause grew and then I could see; one of our troops was coming home, in a wheelchair, a double amputee. It was his parents whose heads I had seen earlier, accompanying their son home. I was touched. Here was a young man, probably not older than 23, arriving home to a life that will forever be changed because of his decision to serve his country.
Last night I watched the HBO special Alive Day. It can be downloaded from hbo.com. I can't stop thinking about these soldiers who have given so much for us to go about our daily lives free to live as we choose. I don't want this to be a post about pro-war or anti-war, I just wanted to pay my respect to those men and women who choose to serve their country and in doing so serving each of us. We have much to be grateful for.