I flew to a farm in Massachusetts last weekend to see some good theatre (more about this soon), but the best scene I saw was coming home, in the Denver airport, where just ahead of me on the escalator was a soldier in his desert camoflauge uniform. A small guy, unprepossessing,modest--I barely noticed him in the crowd heading for the exit. I was thinking about the drive home and apple pie. But at the top of the escalator, in the terminal arrival area, I heard a gasp and then there he was, and there she was--his wife or partner--together in a deep embrace. Not as quite as flamboyant or glamorous as this one, from England, but close.
The crowd stopped as one: it takes a lot to stop an airport crowd on their way out, and usually it's something much less pleasant. We stopped, and looked, and we cheered. The guy next to me, also a soldier I think, but not in uniform and not yet met, said, "that home will be rocking tonight." And I said "it's rocking now."
During Our Town, there's a moment when Emily rushes into the arms of her fiance, George. We worked hard on that moment, making it full and truthful---and on stage it was a good moment too. But it was nothing like what I saw in the Denver airport on Sunday night. Sometimes there's nothing quite like the truth--the truth a only tour of Iraq and a trip up the airport escalator into the arms of someone who loves you can deliver.
Here's to our vets, at home and abroad---we wish them all such a homecoming, and soon, too.