the public applauding soldiers at airports

Has anyone witnessed this in action?

I’m referring to the commercial during the super bowl which showed a group of soldiers in uniform receiving a growing round of applause from the public as they get off the plane. You can watch it

And this conservative blog, which relates stories of it happening in real life.The blog cited (part of the Wall Street Journal’s web site) has a followup the next day, too, quoting readers who share their stories of the public showing spontaneous support for the troops.

My first question is: how widespread is this?
Are the 3 or 4 incidents mentioned indicative of anything?
Secondly, since the public is split almost evenly between Dems and Repubs, it would seem that, even if these shows of support do occur, they would also draw a few protesters.

Or is the whole event just a TV commercial of no importance?

(note to mods: I realize this isn’t exactly a GD topic, but it is a bit more serious than IMHO)

I suspect it is something that happens. The key is getting something like this started. People are much more likely to clap along with others than to be the one to initiate the clapping. Plus, there are those who consider themselves above this sort of thing.

Why would you assume that Democrats would protest against members of the armed forces? Do you think they think that the enlisted men decided on their own to invade Iraq?

Or, they are like me and think it is is a ludicrous and highly inappropriate thing to do.

Do large groups of soldiers fly in and out of civilian airports? I would presume that folks going to Iraq (or Geremany, S. Korea, etc.) would fly out of U.S. airbases.

I’ve seen small groups of military in airports a few times and individual military people many times but I’m in lots of airports over the year. I’ve never seen the applause thing. I bet it happens more now that the commercial has been aired.

I can imagine people silently not participating but not a protest. The anti-war movement learned an important lesson about not blaming the soldier during the Viet Nam era.


When I flew to Sigonella, Sicily for a two year tour of duty, I did so from Philadelphia International Airport. That particular flight was serving the Azores, Rota Airbase in Spain, Naples, Sigonella, Bahrain and Diego Garcia.

So yes, civilian airports as well as military airbases are routinely used.

I’ve heard stories about the applause, as well as large groups of people willingly being bumped to later flights to accomodate soldiers returning from the Mideast. I have on a couple of occasions been thanked for my service while flying in uniform, and this was before the current hostilities.

Confirmation of the above.

Ah, that would explain it Mr. Moto. I was in Atlanta last October and saw a lot of men and uniform going through that airport (the Snopes link mentions Atlanta). It looked like they were wearing Air Cavalry patches. It was an amazing sight. I wanted to shake their hands, or salute (but I’m non-military, and didn’t feel that would be right) or something. When I saw this commercial, I wished that I’d applauded.

It didn’t help that my group was in a rush.

BWI is another big airport for departing soldiers. I think every time I’ve gone through BWI I’ve seen at least half-a-dozen soldiers going to or from somewhere. I see that the Snopes link specifically mentions BWI, so I just thought I’d confirm that BWI appears to be used all the time by soldiers.

There are quite a few that fly in and out of Seattle-Tacoma. In fact, it’s been rare over the past year or so when I haven’t seen military personnel flying through. SeaTac even has a regular looking check-in desk in the departures area that is for one of the military airlift commands, just like United or Delta.

As for the OP, I have never witnessed any applause.

The thing that always gives me a sinking feeling about the military people I see at SeaTac is how very, very young they look.

Not applause, but I can remember in January of 2002 standing outside the place I was then working at, huddled with other smokers against the cold when a couple of military helicopters flew past. Immediately, several people began waving in a friendly, “Hi!” type manner. I can’t think of any time prior to 9/11 that I’ve seen anything like that.

Army folks are always in and out of the Columbia airport, because Fort Jackson is here. I’ve never seen them applauded, but they definately use commercial airports.

They’re mostly extremely young, as Ft. Jackson is a huge basic training facility. It’s a little distressing.

[minor hijack–but hey, it’s my thread:) ]
why is it distressing?
After high school, 18 year olds leave home.Some of them go to work, some to college, and some join the military.

True, but 18-year-olds are looking younger and younger every year.

Even if you do support the war, what’s with applauding someone just for doing their job? The next time I see my trash collector, I’m going to give him a standing ovation. :dubious:

In Vietnam, we didn’t have an all-volunteer military.

And the next time your trash collector saves you from a marauding gang by putting himself between the gang and your house and fighting them, I’ll applaud right along with you.

I think it is a beautiful thing. Certainly not because of the war, but because of the nobility of the soldiers. I greatly admire their discipline, their idealism, and their courage. (Yes, yes, I know there are exceptions.) It may be true that they are not defending me directly since Bush is only picking a fight over a grudge with an enemy who is no threat. I don’t deny that. But these soldiers would fight anyone anywhere upon the order of a good and decent soul who really did perceive a threat to me. I would be one of the first, if not the first, to begin the applause.

Are there any soldiers who would prefer not to attract the large amount of attention that a round of applause does? Should they have no say in the matter?