During my weekly travels, I often gaze out of the plane window and stare at nothing. Nothing but the airport staff scurrying about, frantically trying to move bags from one impatient plane to another.
The scene is always the same but the day is different. It’s almost like Groundhog Day over and over again. I see people wearing orange vests, with orange headphones moving orange cones and using orange glow sticks to guide planes here and there and everywhere.
Except for last Monday. My view changed.
An announcement alerted us to the fact that the Southwest Airlines plane next to us was bringing home the body of a twenty-four year old female soldier.
In solidarity with the girl’s family who stood waiting at the hearse, the passengers on my flight shed many tears. With hands to mouths, palms on hearts, audible gasps and whispered prayers, we paid respect to the family through those little plane windows.
As the scene unfolded, one man, sitting across the isle from me, saluted during the entire dignified transfer as the flag-draped coffin was moved by the honor-guard from the aircraft to the waiting hearse.
I was in two minds about taking this picture out of respect for the family, but I decided that sharing the image would help us remember that we are still at war and young heroes are still out there putting their lives on the line for us. I hope this young twenty-four year old woman will not be just a footnote in the local paper. Only the forgotten are truly dead.
Talking of footnotes, I later tried to find out more about what we had seen at the airport and perhaps find the girl’s name to add to this post. But alas I found nothing except for countless and completely valueless articles, tweets and twits discussing Kanye West being bankrupt, Kim Kardashian posting nude pictures of herself on Instagram and other political drivel that is clouding our precious time on this planet.
How lost we are.