This is something you don’t see every day — a poignant reminder of what we might take for granted.The scene starts off at your departure gate at the airport. You’re waiting for a flight, possibly bored or absorbed in last-minute emails. Maybe you don’t want to be bothered.
But then the awe-inspiring happens.
Late last month at Reagan National Airport, Muller happened to be near Gate 38 when he heard an announcement over the loud speakers.
“A US Airways gate attendant announced that an honour Flight of World War II veterans would be arriving momentarily and encouraged anyone passing by to help greet them,” he recalls.
honour Flights are arranged for U.S. veterans, particularly survivors of WWII, to visit the national capital and spend time at the memorials dedicated to them and their fallen comrades.
Muller noticed there were only five or six people who were officially tasked with greeting the veterans. Everyone else was a traveller with a plane to catch, going here and there.
He had a sinking feeling as he thought about what would happen if just a half dozen people cared to greet the war heroes.
But he was immediately surprised:
All throughout the terminal, people left their gates and gathered around Gate 38. A few active military personnel in plain clothes approached the gate attendant and politely asked if they could join in the salute within the jet way as the heroes first stepped off the plane. Every human being in the terminal stood at attention and faced the door.
As soon as the first veteran appeared — old and frail — he was met with a hero’s welcome. Muller described how people cheered and total strangers held back tears.
The atmosphere in the US Airways wing of the airport was completely transformed. A collective demonstration of gratitude overflowed from Gate 38, and Muller managed to film a video of the whole encounter.
“This is the America we picture in our heads,” he concludes.
“I realised that World War II wasn’t just a chapter in a history book. It was men and women who saw an evil like the world has never seen before and traveled across the world to meet that evil. And they defeated it.”
Here’s his video of the spontaneous welcoming, which he describes as a unique “flash mob” — a rarity that reveals what honour looks like:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
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