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A Nice Moment At BWI

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 5:55 am
by airjampanam

The writer and his wife live in LA and both work for Uncle Sam.

A Day at Baltimore Airport

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope that you will spare me a few minutes of your time to tell you
about something that I saw on Monday, October 27.

I had been attending a conference in Annapolis and was coming home on
Sunday. As you may recall, Los Angeles International Airport was closed

on Sunday, October 26, because of the fires that affected air traffic
control. Accordingly, my flight, and many others, were canceled and I
wound up spending a night in Baltimore.

My story begins the next day. When I went to check in at the United
counter Monday morning I saw a lot of soldiers home from Iraq. Most
were very young and all had on their desert camouflage uniforms. This
was as change from earlier, when they had to buy civilian clothes in
Kuwait to fly home. It was a visible reminder that we are in a war. It
probably was pretty close to what train terminals were like in World War II.

Many people were stopping the troops to talk to them, asking them
questions in the Starbucks line or just saying "Welcome Home." In
addition to all the flights that had been canceled on Sunday, the
weather was terrible in Baltimore and the flights were backed up. So,
there were a lot of unhappy people in the terminal trying to get home,
but nobody that I saw gave the soldiers a bad time.

By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours.
United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and
take another flight. They weren't getting many takers. Finally, a
United spokeswoman got on the PA and said this, "Folks. As you can see,
there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days
of leave and we're trying to get them where they need to go without
spending any more time in an airport then they have to. We sold them
all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight. If we can, we want
to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers to know that
we respect what you're doing, we are here for you and we love you."

At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, a
cross-section of America, broke into sustained and heartfelt applause.
The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just
looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears.

And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers
went to Denver on that flight.

That little moment made me proud to be an American, and also told me why
we will win this war.

If you want to send my little story on to your friends and family, feel
free. This is not some urban legend. I was there, I was part of it, I
saw it happen.

Will Ross
Administrative Judge
United States Department of Defense

RE: A Nice Moment At BWI

Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2003 9:46 am
by RNOcommctr
Nice, but how much nicer it will be see to those same soldiers at BWI, coming home for good from a war that should have never started and cannot be won.

RE: A Nice Moment At BWI

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:25 am
by airjampanam
True.. that would have been nicer

RE: A Nice Moment At BWI

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:39 am
by LoneStarMike
Speaking of nice moments at BWI, there was another one awhile back that was reported on Good Morning America. It was when the first of the troops taking their 2 week R&R arrived at BWI. Dianne Sawyer interviewed a soldier and his sister and mother.

Apparently the soldier had told the sister he was coming home, but not his mother. His mother said she was a Frontier agent at BWI. Dianne asked her if she was surprised and she said yes. She said she was working the ticket counter and looked up and there was her son. She said she started trembling and shaking and was just so happy to see him. Man, I would have loved to be there to see that reunion.

I was thinking that if I had been the passenger she was checking in at the time, I would have just told her to go hug her son and I'd wait for the next available agent.


RE: A Nice Moment At BWI

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:06 am
by mirrodie
That is a heartfelt story, Will.

I pray that we'll soon have them back for good.

RE: A Nice Moment At BWI

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2003 10:02 am
by cancidas
it would have been better if that situation had NEVER happenned, i.e. no war.