I didn't know what was happening when I first heard the bell ringing.
I had been stuck in Baltimore Washington International Airport all day.
The final piece of the program that brought our 13-year old and my wife and me to Washington D.C. ended Friday morning. Our flight wasn't set to leave BWI for Oklahoma City until 5:30 p.m. but we couldn't really see any more sites with all of our luggage so we decided to grab an Uber and head to the airport early. It wouldn't be too bad, right?
That might have been true if the first email I received after making it through security wouldn't have said our flight was delayed an hour and twenty minutes. It would be delayed another 30 minutes before we actually got to take off for home.
I was getting really tired of being in that airport when at about 6 p.m. I heard the bell ringing. Suddenly everyone in the terminal was standing to applaud and then I heard a "crier" ringing his bell and announcing that members of an Honor Flight were passing through. He proclaimed that veterans from World War II, the Battle of the Bulge, the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam were all heading to our nation's capitol to visit the memorials that have been established in their honor and in the honor of those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy. As the monument to those who served in Korea says, "Freedom is not free."
I saw a lot of spectacular things during this trip. Museums, Mount Vernon, the White House, monuments, and Rep. Steve Russell's staff even gave us a great tour of the Capitol building - during which Bono, the lead singer from U2 was hurried by just feet from us by a security detail.
A trip to Washington D.C. should be required for all Americans. It is hard not to love your country more after standing in the footprints of many of those who established the greatest nation on earth.
But more than monuments and museums, seeing the men and women who fought to preserve those freedoms honored with a standing ovation by a crowd of appreciative citizens was the most inspiring moment of all.
We had been in that terminal for far too long when the bell began to ring, but if I had known I would get to see that scene, I would have gladly volunteered to wait.