Friday, November 12, 2010


It's homecoming season here in the states, which for many folks means school dances, rallies, and football, basketball, or hockey games. In this post, however, I'm marking a very different sort of homecoming: The return home of a fallen soldier. We see this at LAX from time to time, as we did this past Thursday. The return is marked with a certain amount of ceremony. What made the event that much more poignant this time was that it was also Veterans Day.

The arriving aircraft is met at the gate by the hearse and a phalanx of Fire and Rescue, Airport Police, and others who assemble to pay their respects. Others watch from the terminal windows.

Those in attendance salute as the flag-draped casket descends from the aircraft . . .

. . . and is carried by the Honor Guard to the waiting hearse.

The hearse and escorts form a motorcade and pull away from the gate.

The motorcade turns and passes behind Terminal 8, then exits the field.

While I am not myself a veteran, I have a deep respect for those who have donned a uniform to defend our country. While many of them do so for more reasons beyond patriotism, the fact remains that they do so by choice, with full knowledge that they may be called upon to pay the ultimate price for their country and our freedom. Sadly, it can seem a thankless sacrifice for a sometimes uncaring nation. It shouldn't be. If you're a current service member or veteran reading this, please accept my gratitude for your service. This country could not be what it is without the dedication of its service members. If you're not a service member or veteran, please take the time and effort to let them know that they're appreciated. No one wants to come home this way.

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