Thoughts from BWI Airport.
As I stroll through the BWI airpot relatively oblivious to everything around me, I stop at the pretzel stand and have a flashback to the last time I traveled to the Baltimore airport. I was stressed out, frustrated with my job, and overworked and underpaid. I volunteered for an Honor flight, and the day before the flight, and forced myself to work through the night in order to not have work on my mind that weekend. I headed out to the Rochester Airport and boarded a flight with 40-50 World War 2 and Korean War Vets, I instantly knew I was in for something bigger than myself.
For those of you who don’t know your history or are shitty at math, most of these guys and gals were well into there 80’s and 90’s. This generation came home from War, and didn’t get a parade, they didn’t receive awards, or parties, these guys came home from war and went to work. We loaded everyone up, and took off blasting out of Rochester. When we landed Saturday morning around 7am at BWI I was the first to get off the plane to assist others onto the escalator and ramp, I froze when I got off the plane. I was staring at about 100+ people who stopped in there tracks to welcome all of the Vets to Baltimore. others gathered around, until it seemed like the entire airport joined in, and I couldn’t help but become overwhelmed with emotions. As I assisted everyone out to the busses we continued our tour down to the memorials in DC and surrounding area’s. We were welcomed similarly at each stop, meeting Bob Dole, and others who we’re excited to see us. I soon was tasked to replace an escort who couldn’t handle her 85 year old grandfather grabbing asses as he wheeled by young ladies. ( he was a Marine). We had a busy day, hitting the Vietnam Wall, WW2 memorial, Tomb of the unknown Soldier, Korean war memorial as well as a couple other stops. That evening our Vets sat together and told war stories over beers before they racked out.
After another early morning wake up, we headed back to Rochester, jumped off the plane around 8 am and had about 300 people waiting for us when we got off the plane. A legit party for our veterans, a welcoming line that extended further than I could see. I hadn’t cried in about 6 years before that day, and I think I cried enough to last me another 6 years.
I was selfish at that time to think it was all about me and it was awesome to be a part of something bigger. This single experience changed my life, and as I sit here at BWI I flashed back and think if other people know what they're missing. Step away from your phone, your ___ , your comfort zone and become a part of something bigger. You won’t regret it.