Memorial Day thought…
Dateline: Dulles International Airport 5/27/05
It’s about 7:15 AM and already there are large crowds of Memorial Day weekend air travelers lining up to check-in for flights to who knows where. Everyone is concerned about making it through the interminable wait to confirm tickets, check baggage and traverse security checks. A grey unmarked van glides to the curb in front of terminal 4 and disgorges five lean, young men in civilian clothes and sporting military haircuts. They each have something else in common; each is missing a leg. Two are in wheel chairs, two use crutches and one walks fairly well with a gleaming stainless steel prosthesis. Two are attended by young women, probably a wife or girlfriend, but the remaining three are alone. They disappear into the crowds apparently virtually unnoticed by the waiting travelers.
This is the Wash. DC area, not far from the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, and I wonder if this is a common sight for my local fellow travelers. Are they not moved by the reminder of our military personnel’s tremendous sacrifices made on our behalf? Maybe we civilians just don’t know how to express it to these wounded warriors. But, maybe many, like me, had that lump in the throat and just a hint of watery eyes. I hope so.
The warrior, who strode purposefully with his steel leg, is tall. I would guess about 6’3” tall, and probably no older than 23 or 24 years of age. His possessions were strapped to his back in a large blue pack. His good leg bore multiple scars probably from shrapnel. I again saw him as I waited to pass through the security check. Airport personnel escorted our warrior through a side door short-cutting the long lines. Had that not been the case, he would have negotiated the obstacles well. Perhaps it was just a little sign of respect for a young man who paid an obvious price for the way-of-life that we enjoy in the U. S. A.
Our combat seasoned military make daily installment payments on the mortgage of freedom that we each enjoy. Some paid the ultimate price and left behind grieving friends and relatives. Others are making the payment each and every day for the remainder of their lives. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that these are the Patriots of our time. On this Memorial Day, lets all remember the Price of Freedom. Go here for a U. S. memorial site.