I was working a job that required frequent travel, mostly international. I can’t remember where we were going that trip or even what airport I was at, but we were waiting for our flight. Hurry up and wait. I’ve done it before.
We’re sitting in the seat near our terminal when two uniformed soldiers walk by with several security guards following. I can’t recall what about the situation caught my attention, maybe the somber looks on their faces, but there was something that drew me in.
They stopped a few terminals down on a flight that was just arriving, stopped at the edge of the carpeted area, standing at attention. It was an unusual sight and I couldn’t figure out what they were doing.
The flight begins debarking and passenger after passenger are leaving, those soldiers just stood there standing at attention.
Then the last two passengers exit, uniformed soldiers themselves, solemly carrying a single flag as if it were a carton of eggs. Marching up to the two waiting soldiers. Salutes and they exchange the flag. I’m standing stock still and I notice something quite impressive, the entire terminal has shut down. Every single person in the place is standing, quietly and respectfully watching the proceedings. The two soldiers begin marching back our way with the flag. Every eye is on them, several people saluted, veterans I’d guess, including myself.
And just as they were passing us, a young boy behind me asks his dad, “All that for a flag?”
His dad leaned down and whispered, “That’s a person son. It means they’re bringing a fallen soldier home.”
Not another word was spoken until all three of those soldiers were completely out of sight.