Wednesday, May 30, 2012

memorial day.

Location: my secret spot on campus to eat lunch + watch the boats on Lake Washington, University of Washington Medical Center
While everyone I know loaded up their cars with camping essentials and headed out of Seattle for a three day weekend filled with boating, booze + BBQs, I worked for fifty-two consecutive hours and tried to ignore the sunshine that permeated the PNW. I was throwing a pity party for myself {complete with cupcakes} for the fourth day in a row when I was thinking about the purpose of Memorial Day + how two military experiences I encountered flying recently gave this unofficial start to summer a completely different meaning. When I was flying to Fort Lauderdale a few weeks back, I was walking by a gate with a huge crowd of people surrounding the jetway and right when I stopped to see what all the commotion was about, a soldier returning from his tour of duty fell in to the arms of his wife and his two-month-old daughter he was meeting for the first time. As the some hundred odd people witnessing this incredible moment clapped, cheered + cried tears of happiness, it felt exactly how a homecoming as beautiful as this was supposed to be.
Location: Green Lake
Two weekends ago when I was groggily getting off a red-eye in which I hardly slept a wink because of an unfortunate middle seat + a "medical emergency" that gave me an adrenaline rush at 3AM flying somewhere over  Oklahoma, we were asked to wait for a military man escorting a fallen soldier to get off first. Just hearing the flight attendant make this announcement immediately stunned me. As seat belts began to unhook + everyone around me began to unload their luggage from overhead bins, I stood there in aisle eleven completely paralyzed... We just flew for five hours across the country with a real hero below this seat that I've been cursing? ... It immediately put my life back in to perspective. I watched the casket descend down the luggage belt with an American flag draped over it and as the military personnel ceremoniously stood guard, I, like everyone else who was watching from the terminal, broke down in to tears again, this time in tears of sadness.      
Location: Alki Beach, Seattle
I may not have been able to go camping or rock climbing last weekend but I most certainly enjoyed my freedoms at a job that I love, feeling ever grateful for this one wild + precious life. To those who serve our country, thank you. 

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