What a Thanksgiving- so much to be thankful for!
Yesterday, I mentioned that I was taking a road trip to go meet my boyfriend at the airport, as he came home from Afghanistan– after quite a few delays (both in him getting out of the country, and then in the actual flight itself)- I finally got to see him at 7pm last night! I’ve never been to an airport when a military flight comes in, and I must say, it was quite the experience!
I got to the airport around 5ish, and made my way down to the end where the international flights come in. I was one of about 10 people hanging around, and everything was completly normal. Within a few minutes of me settling into my seat to wait, a girl scout troop showed up and started unloading boxes of girl scout cookes. This was soon followed by a boy scout troop with “Welcome Home” balloons and wagons full of snacks and bottled water. As I sat there and watched, I thought it was really nice of them to do that for the troops- but little did I know what I was in for! Soon after that, I sat in awe as I watched cart after cart show up– some carts had boxes of food and water, some had boxes of decorations and others had ladders and other equipment. Within a matter of minutes, the whole area was decorated with Welcome Home signs, balloons, flags and the like, the scouts had set up assembly lines to package up all of their goodies, patriotic music was playing, and people were walking around talking like everyone was a long lost friend.
I soon came to learn that this is something the airport does for every single incoming military flight- whether there’s one flight coming in or three flights (As they said they had the night before).
A volunteer walked around taking down names of loved ones, and if you were a relative, you got to go past the “do not enter” sign and stand where they could see you as soon as they came though the doors off of their flight. As each soldier came through the doors, cowbells rang, people waved flags, and the cheering was deafaning. It was so heartwarming to see that even though not every soldier had someone to greet them at the gate, they were welcomed home warmly.
I overheard that there were 340 men and women on this flight and it could take hours for the last one to make it through customs and through that door, so while I waited, I snapped a few pictures…
Before I knew it, the first of the men (and women) were making their way through the doors and down the “receiving line” (as I called it) of family members, friends and the like greeting the soldiers-
Thankfully, my boy ( 🙂 ) was one of the first 30 or so through those doors– and all the waiting of the past seven months came to an end– and let me tell you- it was so worth it 🙂
We made our way down the line, stopped off for a quick picture near the tree (to send to both moms of course!), and waited for the shuttle to our hotel to start our night- unfortunately, by this time, it was after 7, and less than 12 hours later, he had to be back to that airport for his next flight out!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving- I know mine was one to never forget!