Flash mobs are highly choreographed events to surprise a certain person or strangers. A flash mob of applause broke out at the Ronald Reagan National Airport but it was completely unplanned. The arrival of an Honor Flight of veterans landed at the airport and they were met with a rousing and deserved welcome to our nation’s capital.
The Honor Flight Network is a non profit organization that flies veterans to Washington D.C. for free. The organization wants every veteran to be able to see our nation’s capital and its monuments in their lifetime. This particular flight was coming from South Carolina full of World War II veterans.
Through the help of a few volunteers and flight attendants these veterans got the most surprising welcome.
Before the veterans exited the plane a flight attendant announced their arrival and encouraged everyone to welcome them alongside the volunteers. Chris Muller, a fellow traveler, went to cheer them on because he was nervous no one would listen to the announcement. He arrived at the gate and quickly realized he was not the only traveler that wanted to surprise the veterans.
The announcement had drawn a great sized crowd in minutes.
Muller states, “All throughout the terminal, people left their gates and gathered around gate 38. A few active military personnel in plain clothes approached the gate attendant and politely asked if they could join in the salute within the jet way as the heroes first stepped off the plane. Every human being in the terminal stood at attention and faced the door.”
The veterans were greeted with such applause and fanfare it was almost as if they were celebrities for the day.
As the flight attendant helped guide the first veteran through the crowd she even joked they were met with paparazzi. Some walk through the crowd waving to everyone just like a parade. Our veterans were willing to sacrifice their lives and deserve every moment of their surprise welcome. It was not only near the plane entrance that a crowd had gathered, people surrounded the entire terminal to pay their respects to the veterans.
The veterans not only had a surprise welcome into Washington D.C. by their fellow travelers, but also by the airport firetrucks.
“What you didn’t see was two airport firetrucks did an amazing ‘water cannon salute’ making an arch of water as the jet arrived. The gate attendant told the crowd that such a salute is typically reserved for a pilot returning from their last flight before retiring,” Muller explains.
The video shows how many strangers wanted to surprise the veterans but what it does not show is how long the crowd stayed.
The crowd did not waver and made sure to give every veteran their own moment as they exited the plane. The crowd stayed for over twenty minutes and never stopped cheering and applauded each and every veteran. What a moving and unexpected moment for the veterans. Some within the crowd held back tears while being a part of honoring the veterans.
Veterans are the heroes of the country and complete strangers wanted to make it clear that they are appreciative of their service and sacrifice.
Press play, right below, to watch the full airport surprise.
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