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Penned by a Friend: The Other Side of the Glass Wall

Friday 8 November 2013 - Filed under Penned by a Friend + Writing

The Other Side of the Glass Wall
by Deon P. Lyons

I sat at the gate waiting for a flight from Bangor to Florida on a cold, snowy day in 2007. There was an undercurrent of excitement about the upcoming trip to warmer weather. The huge windows overlooking the airfield gave me a view of serious snowfall. As I thought about the sunshine that awaited me at my relatives’ home, I noticed a huge plane landing and approaching the adjacent gate. It has always amazed me the way something so damn big can jump off the ground or swoop down like these planes do.

While we were waiting for our flight to be announced, several people started walking toward the wall of glass that separated our two gates. When I looked through the wall, I saw men and women in uniform exiting the plane. Some driving force from inside or outside or somewhere told me to get myself over there. I joined the crowd, and as we got closer to the wall and I realized what this meant, I felt proud as hell.

They were all dressed in fatigues, rugged boots and backpacks. As soon as I could get close enough to touch the wall, I put my hand up and touched the glass. A few of the men and women on the other side reached out and placed their hands on mine as they walked by. I could feel their energy pass from them to me. It was incredible! I was all choked up inside and started to cry.

I can’t explain how “American” I felt at that moment. It’s a scene and a feeling I will keep forever. I mouthed the words, “Thank you.” and they mouthed the same words back to me. I had trouble breathing. The pride, the passion, and the gratitude that they were still alive made me humble. I stood there, held in place by smiles and by the rapid beating of my heart. The emotion just pumped through my bloodstream.

When the line finally passed me, I realized there was a welcoming group waiting for them. Yes, they still had another flight to take. They were Tennessee National Guard troops who would be home with their families tonight. These “gate angels” meet our service people at every airport. I was glad to know that such a regular supply of praise and support is always offered to our bravest. I saw joy and contentment on the faces of the welcomers and the people who had been away for eighteen months. I felt so damn good knowing they were back where they belonged; and I could only imagine the depth of the loss for the families whose people should have been on that flight.

The swell of passion I felt on that day was love, hope, thanks, and faith all bundled together. I never felt like this when I was younger; never thought about the sacrifices that have, over the years, contributed to safety and security for me here at home. I have choices I might not have without those heroes on the other side of the glass wall. They give, and they give, and then they give some more. When I write or talk about that day, the feeling comes back, and I find myself unable to express it with the depth it deserves.

As we pay tribute on Veterans Day and the other patriotic holidays, I praise the courage, morn the sacrifices, and nearly burst with pride. I remember that cold day in Maine and those returning troops. My journey was the only thing on my mind until I saw beyond the glass wall and reached out and touched their world for a moment.

Many of my relatives have served and are serving today. A few years back I received a picture of my nephew, Michael. He is standing beside a huge military vehicle in Iraq. He looks just like the strong marine that he is. He is a man I’m proud to call family.

I thank God that I live in this country. I am lucky, and I can’t imagine living any other way. I don’t take my life for granted; I can’t afford to; none of us really can.

The USA owes you men and women in uniform everything we hold dear, and we must never forget it. God bless you!

About Deon’s Book “Sully Street:”

The year is 1973. The place is Fairfield, a quaint, bustling little town in Central Maine with a history that is strong and true. A condemned manor on the outskirts of town , the Merriman Manor, holds a unique story. Its warped timbers and sagging floors cling tightly to a hidden story that has remained a secret for over a hundred years. An unforgettable story from a forgotten time, held captive to our country’s past. Fairfield is also home to the imaginations and curiosities of five teenage boys who, in three hot summer days, unknowingly stumble their way into a forgotten truth about the human spirit, all but lost in time. Journey back to the teenage years of Dustin, Kevin, Wally, Teddy and Frankie as they ride along, pedaling towards those simple joys and pure adolescent passions that are such a big part of yesterday. Pull up your kickstands, check your tire pressure and come with them as their innocence is tested, and pure teenage camaraderie proves to be the glue that binds their friendship and holds tight to the true meaning of the everlasting spirit of youth.

Sully Street is the first novel by Maine author DP Lyons You can find this title, along with other publications by Lyons here

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2013-11-08  »  Marilyn Brandt Smith