By Megan Dortch
As dawn broke through the clouds and into the cabin of the airplane, the passengers closed the blinds covering their tiny windows. The pilot had just announced that the plane was beginning to descend.
A middle aged man in the aisle seat wearing a crisp navy t-shirt with the logo of the wounded Warrior Project held two teddy bears in his arms. He was visually nervous as he bounced his prosthetic leg up and down. A elderly woman sitting across the aisle from him noticed his uneasiness and ask if flying made uncomfortable. He smiled shyly and nodded. When the wheels of the plane touched down on the runway, the man gritted his teeth and clutched the teddy bears tightly to his chest while keeping his eyes closed until the plane was completely stopped.
When the seat belt light flashed off, the sound of seat belts unfastening filled the cabin and passengers jumped to leave their seats as the man with the teddy bears waited patiently for the aisle to clear. Then, he stood up and retrieved a camouflage duffel bag from the overhead compartment and walked slowly down the aisle, the two teddy bears tucked carefully between his left arm and side.
As he exited the gate, two high-pitched screams began to echo throughout the terminal .The man instantly dropped his dufflel bag and teddy bears to the floor and crouched down with open arms as two little girls with bright blond hair ran toward him. He enveloped them in his arms as tears poured down his face. A tall woman stood close by clutching a sign in her left hand that said, “Welcome home, daddy!” and her right hand tried to wipe the steady stream of tears from her face. The man motioned for her to join the embrace.
Onlookers stood by, many with tears welling up in their own eyes, as the family reunited. After a few minutes, the family stood up and the man gathered his things from the floor. As he handed the teddy bears to the little girls, he told them that he loved them and they embraced him yet again.