... for the welcome
On Sunday morning at around 10:25, Flight 62 from Anchorage rolled up to the gates at the Juneau Airport, and in the ensuing moments, more than 20 heroes walked off the plane.
I am, of course, referring to the soldiers from our local Army National Guard who, thank God, all returned home to their loved ones and a grateful community from the war in Iraq.
As I walked up to the front entrance of the airport that morning, I wasn't sure what I was going to find. Would there be only a handful of people there to welcome these soldiers home? Would the soldiers feel like they'd been shunned and ignored by our community? Thankfully, that was not the case.
As the minutes clicked by before the arrival of Flight 62, the upper waiting area at the airport filled to capacity. There was even a bag pipe group playing tunes downstairs. People held flags and posters, wore yellow ribbons, hung banners on the walls and mingled with friends and expectant family members who were waiting for their loved ones to come home.
As the soldiers got off the airplane and rounded the corner into the waiting area, you could tell that some of them were completely overwhelmed by the site of wall to wall people who were there only to say thank you, job well done and welcome home soldier. Everyone was waving flags, applauding wildly and shouting out their thanks to our brave heroes. There were no political statements being made, no special interest groups being recognized. Just thankful, proud patriots giving a hero's welcome to our very deserving soldiers ... our neighbors.
If you missed out on this experience, then you truly missed out. If you were there, you know the power of love for your fellow man and the awesome feeling of being a part of something like this. Thank you Juneau for turning out in force to let our soldiers know that we appreciate them.
J. Marc Mulkey
... for the kindness
My daughter's chocolate lab was struck and killed by a vehicle this past weekend. North Douglas Highway is notorious and unforgiving when it comes to animals, and it was clearly our fault for letting her "get away" from us. The driver of the vehicle went to great lengths to find us as owners, tell us what had happened and then come help us find the pup before she died.
Our family commends him for his bravery in facing the hurt of a child and, possibly, angry owners. We only hope and encourage others, should they find themselves in this difficult situation, to take the "high road" as this person did. Thanks Jim.