Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome home

I don't consider myself to be a very weepy person (at least not before my son's brain injury, but we're not talking about that right now) nor a person who is particularly supportive of the military.

However, this commercial, which aired several years ago, never failed to tear me up. 




For some reason I was thinking about this commercial the last time I was at the airport, seeing off family. Maybe it was the large flags hanging in the check-in area, maybe it was the fact that I was there with my new little ones and was feeling protective. Whatever the reason, it should have prepared me for what happened when I left the airport. But it didn't.

As I pushed the button for my floor of the parking garage, a strapping young man in a full khaki uniform and a bulging duffel bag stepped on the elevator. We rode in silence for what seemed like forever. I thought: I should do it. I should say welcome home. Clapping would be weird. Don't clap. But welcome home might be weird too. What if Portland isn't his home? What if he wasn't in Iraq or Afghanistan? Am I presuming too much? I know! I'll just say thank you.

But when I thought of that, "Thank you," the full weight of what it meant hit me and the words caught in my throat. 

Thank you for risking your physical and psychological health for us. Thank you for leaving your friends and family for a hostile environment and a hostile culture. Thank you for doing your duty for your country while the rest of us actively ignore the fact that we are fighting two wars. Thank you for being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice knowing that we can never repay you or your survivors for it.

The door opened and the moment was gone. Even a simple thank you would have been better than nothing and I kicked myself all the way home for missing the opportunity.

So here I am, saying thank you Guy at the Airport. Thank you to all of our fighting men and women who have been deployed far and wide.

And, welcome home. 

5 comments:

  1. I can't really explain it, Shasta, but this post made me tear up...and I didn't even watch the commercial. Maybe I, too, feel I do too little and don't say thank you often enough. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that I AM a big supporter of our military men and women. ;) Whenever I fly, I leave out of Pensacola, where the naval air station is located, and not too far from Pensacola is Eglin Air Force Base. It's common to be on board with servicemen, and I always say "Thank you for your service."

    The other thing I've noticed whenever I'm in the airport is the families. It's not uncommon to see women traveling - sans husbands - with their children. A good friend of mine's husband was deployed to Iraq for a year beginning the week Nathan was born. Having Nathan's first year of life coincide so closely with Greg's absence really brought it home to me the sacrifices the families make, as well.

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  3. Jill: Oh, you should totally watch the commercial. It's pretty great. And thanks!

    Andi: So true. NPR had a really good series recently on the Dark Horse Marine Battalion and the story about a widow with a new baby that her husband never met had me crying in my driveway. In many ways I think the ones the service members leave behind make just as much emotional sacrifice as they do because all they can do is wait and worry.

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  4. Wow! Talk about a powerful commercial. I got goosebumps when I watched this. We can't say thank-you enough to all those who served our country!

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  5. Your blog has been given a reward! Please come and collect ...

    ReplyDelete

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