War is something that no one should ever have to experience. For those who do, however, the impact it has on their lives is incredibly overarching. Especially for those who have been sent overseas, coming to terms with being in a war zone is no easy feat. It’s bad enough being thousands of miles away from everyone you know and care about, let alone having to put your life on the line the entire time. There is no purer act of patriotism than doing all of this in the name of your country, but every soldier looks forward to the chance to return home.
When a group of soldiers returned home from service, crowds were waiting for them at the airport. This happened to catch the attention of a passerby, and what that individual witnessed next was life changing:
Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving through the terminal, was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) abruptly jumped to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30 to 40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young, unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line every day so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said, "Hi." The little girl then asked him if he could give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, he didn't look any older than maybe 22, said he would try and asked what she wanted to give to her daddy. Suddenly, the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily-single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then, one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talked back and forth on it.
After about 10 to 15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said to her, "I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you" He then hugged the little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying, "Your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and that he is coming home very soon."
The mom was crying almost uncontrollably at this point, and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away while this entire event unfolded. As the soldiers began to leave and headed towards their gate, people resumed their applause. I stood there applauding and looked around. There were very few dry eyes, including my own. In one last act of kindness, that one soldier turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to always remember all of our soldiers, their families and to thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.