The Way We Get By

So, I had the great fortune of coming across an amazing documentary today.  It was odd.  I just suddenly decided to check out Hulu.  I haven’t been on Hulu since the summer time.  As I went to the site, the first thing I saw was an advertisement for the aforementioned documentary.

So, when you’re shipping overseas, the last place you will find yourself before leaving American soil is the airport in Bangor Maine, at least that was the case in both of my deployments.  There in the terminal of Bangor International Airport is a small office.  It’s not a VFW, or USO…it’s just a group of Bangor residents who’ve taken it upon themselves to greet and wish well all of the soldiers who pass through the terminal, regardless of weather, or ailment, or time of day.  Most of the greeters are elderly. Some are veterans, and some are not.  They are all very nice people, who have served such a valuable role in the past 7 years.

I suppose the documentary struck such a chord with me because I’ve passed through that terminal, and I’ve seen those people.  I’ve been in their office, and I’ve used their phones. I’ve seen their wall of fallen soldiers…I’ve even wondered if I would be on that wall.

I don’t think any of my comrades would deny that it’s nice to have someone there to say nice words when you’re leaving this country, not really knowing what to expect and just doing your best to keep your cool.  The same can be said upon returning…seeing smiling faces, and having a bunch of people sitting there saying “Thank you” and “Welcome home”…it brought tears to my eyes when I returned from Afghanistan.

I’m not too tough of a guy to say that I cried during the documentary as well.  It brought back a lot of memories.  About the deployment, and about  just passing through there.  Seeing everyone’s faces as we touched American soil.  The relief, and worry, and fear.  The thoughts of the guys who didn’t make it back.  One moment in the documentary that got me going was when a soldier says “We’re leaving with 132, and we’re bringing 132 back.”  I remember in formation when my commander said similar words.  Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy, or that simple.

I’m glad that the story of these great people was able to be told.  I encourage all of you to watch this film, and tell others about it.  In the mess and craziness that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have become and been, this is a small piece of this craziness that is truly beautiful.  These are a portrait of people who are truly beautiful.

You can find he film “The Way We Get By” here on Hulu:

Bangor Greeters

Bangor International Airport

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