It’s Christmas morning, and I’ve been up since 4am due to jet lag. So as long as I’m up, I might as well post, right?
I arrived in New York early Monday morning and didn’t make it to the southeast until 8 in the evening after a canceled flight, another delayed one and lost luggage. One thing I noticed after my absurd amount of connecting flights was that the farther south I got, the more soldiers I saw. Finally, this culminated in a flight from Atlanta to Birmingham on which about 10 of the passengers were in uniform.
It felt like Desert Storm on the plane, and there were so many of soldiers that the flight crew called on them to be let off first. This, of course, was also due to a deference to returning service members — on each flight, passengers were asked to applaud the soldiers for protecting America.
In many of the conversations I heard, and not just those involving service members, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came up. I overheard Georgians and Alabamians discussing strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistani politics, as well as Iranian bluster. Despite the lauding of soldiers, though, most everyone seemed critical of American involvement in Iraq, most hoping for a speedy return home for men and women in uniform.
One young man, though, had something interesting to say after seeing off a serviceman who wants to study law at Alabama when he finishes his third deployment to Iraq: “It looks like if he gets out Iraq, it’ll just be to get sent to Afghanistan.”