My wife and I were returning from a visit with one of our sons stationed at Ft. Benning, GA when as we were walking through the South Terminal at Atlanta’s International Airport, I heard a man speaking loudly from the middle of a large circular area surrounded by benches and lounge chairs. Every seat was taken as there were a couple of hundred people standing and listening intently. We were unable to understand what this gentleman was saying due to the acoustics….but when he was done speaking, those in attendance began to cheer, stand and clapped their hands wildly. Still not comprehending why he deserved the standing ovation, my wife and I continued towards our destination assuming that the man was an entertainer, or perhaps a politician giving a speech when suddenly the crowd got louder and louder as the reason for the cheers became clear. US Army Soldiers started to walk through the middle of the circle in an informal formation en-route to overseas deployment and their place in history….there were perhaps 150 of these fine Americans all together, looking serious and probably a little uncomfortable with the attention that was thrust upon them. As I looked around the rotunda I could see that tears were streaming down the cheeks of nearly all as people were hugging each other and most (not all) were proud of their country’s guardians. I was utterly speechless and unable to respond through my own tears to my wife when she commented that she had not seen anything so beautifully spontaneous in a very long time.
I’ve seen similar emotional videos online before filmed at various airports throughout the nation, but being there personally to see this event unfold as it happened was an experience that my wife and I will never forget!
May God bless them all and bring them home safely.