Picking Up Human Remains at the Savannah Airport
Diatribes of a Knucklehead
Many Veterans, to include me, get disgruntled about the fact that most American civilians have no respect for the military; other than lip service. So why do we feel this way? I know why; because if you use the news media and Hollywood to gauge public opinion, you are crazy.
Here is an example of the REAL American public:
One evening one of my Marines, SSgt Ricky M., and I had to go to the Savannah Airport to pick up human remains; in an Urn. SSgt M. stopped outside the baggage area and parked along the curb. He remained with the vehicle so we would not have to move from the tow away zone. I went inside and headed for the appropriate gate.
Things did not start out well. Even though I was in full dress blues and the airport personnel know I was coming for the remains a female TSA agent stopped me for over 30 minutes. Obviously, my uniform and all its trinkets set off the metal detector’s alarm; that was expected. The TSA agent took me into the middle and started using a hand help metal detector on me. She was not happy and told me to remove my shoes, then coat, which is when I lost it. I said, stop; get your supervisor over here right now. The supervisor came over and I was allowed to go through right away.
I arrived at the gate just before the jet way was extended. I put on my white gloves and cover (hat) and stood at attention awaiting the MSgt who was escorting and the Urn. When the escort got to me with the Urn (which was made of brass and weighed about 40 pounds) we turned and began our journey through the airport to the baggage claim area where SSgt M. was waiting.
This is where we were able to see what the American public was all about. There was no announcement from the airport staff, just two Marines walking down the hall with an Urn; containing the remains of one of our fallen hero EOD techs. It started slowly. One group of civilians saw us and obviously figured it out; they moved out of our way and placed their right hands over their hearts. Then it was like watching dominoes fall; one after another people moved against the wall to give us room and most placed their hands over their hearts; many with tears in their eyes. These were true Americans who do love and respect our military.
When we exited the baggage area, we placed the Urn in the van and all sat at attention as we were leaving.
As we were departing, we saw a young soldier, an army General’s driver, waiting at his official vehicle. He turned towards us and saluted with tears rolling down his face.
We were not just bringing home our brother; we were bringing home his brother too – brother warrior – Respect.
Image is of one of my old friends; RIP Javier
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