One of our coworkers lives in Washington, DC, and recently relayed this story to the Pixel team. She was incredibly moved by how people used their power to Ignite Good! and make some veterans feel very special.
Recently, I took a trip to visit friends. I arrived at the Baltimore airport, rushed as usual. I made my way through security, and toward my gate. I saw a huge group of people gathered outside of one of the early gates in the terminal blocking traffic, and thought to myself “Oh, no, what is this commotion?” But as I got closer, I saw that it was no ordinary group. An honor guard of Navy servicemen and women flanked either side of an aisle leading out of a gate. People gathered and some waved American flags. “What could it be?” I wondered.
Soon, the plane everyone was anticipating arrived. The first few people got off quickly, and passed through the guard without any comment. I stood and waited to see what would happen. The waiting continued. Surely, we wouldn’t be standing here without something more to come. And come it did. I heard the clapping before I saw anything. Then I saw person after person being wheeled out in wheelchairs. Yet still, I had no idea what it could be.
So I asked someone standing nearby. “It’s an Honor Flight,” he explained. “They bring veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to Washington, DC to visit the memorials.” Everyone was clapping for the service that these men and women had given to our country so many years ago.
The procession continued for quite a long time, since many of the veterans were quite elderly and needed wheelchair assistance off the plane. But each one got applause. Applause that many veterans don’t get because they pass unnoticed among us when they’re not in uniform. Each one of them became a celebrity for a moment that day, celebrated because they were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice.
I clapped myself, thinking of how much my grandfathers, who both served in World War II, would have enjoyed something like this. And how much a simple display of gratitude can brighten someone’s day.
To borrow a quote from Will Rogers, “We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by.”