The last time I had to fly somewhere, I arrived at the airport too early. To kill some time, I went to sit outside and enjoy a bit of the beautiful Austin day before going through security.
I was just sitting down when a woman’s voice came over the loudspeaker. She announced that a flight that had just landed included a soldier returning home from Iraq. As I was outside, I didn’t hear if there was any applause. I assume there was. I hope there was.
I looked up from the bench I was sitting on, and in front of me were a young man and woman having a cigarette together, standing next to her car in the drop-off lane. The young man was in uniform.
They finished their cigarettes, then stood there next to the car and held each other for a long time. Finally, they separated. She drove away slowly, and he entered the airport to fly somewhere. Somewhere away from his loved ones. Maybe somewhere dangerous.