By Brandy Harvey
Every Memorial Day weekend, our nation recognizes and honors those who served in the armed forces here and abroad. My dad is a veteran, and I possess a strong sense of pride for those who are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Last Tuesday, I arrived at the airport hours before my scheduled flight in the hopes of jumping on an earlier one to get home faster. As I approached the gate to speak to the airline staff, I came upon a large crowd focusing on the Color Guard, holding seven flags for different military branches. I wasn’t sure why this was happening, but it was very clear that this was a significant moment. People had stopped, had their phones out and were completely silent. Whispering to others, I learned the arriving flight was coming from LAX, through Atlanta and then onto DC. This special flight was carrying six of the Flying Aces, WWII veterans and their families, all in their 90’s. I was overwhelmed by their presence.
These Aces were traveling to meet the Speaker of the House to receive the highest honor Congress can give, the Congressional Medal of Honor. I said to myself, “What??!” They all were men of valor and were finally being recognized. Witnessing these men exiting the plane and hearing the whole concourse applaud is something I’ll never forget. All I could think about was how I wasn’t supposed to be at the airport then, yet I was part of this humbling experience.
I worked my way through the crowd to get a better view of these heroes, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. One of these courageous men was wearing a Nucleus 5 Remote Assistant around his neck!! If you know me, I have no fear in talking to anyone, and I wasn’t going to miss a chance to meet this fighter pilot who has a Cochlear™ Nucleus® Implant. I always look for recipients “in the wild”, as my dear friend, Joe puts it, to ask them about their experience and to connect with a Cochlear family member. I was able to meet Captain Luther Prater, Retired U.S. Navy, and his lovely bride of 71 years before he went off to make history again.
This was a good day to arrive early to the airport.
I have learned that it’s becoming more common to meet Nucleus Implant and Baha System recipients “in the wild”—by chance, not at a hearing loss event, not in an audiologist’s office, but at a random, unplanned, everyday activity. Does this happen because more people are benefiting from this incredible technology? This made me curious about the stories others have of running into a fellow recipient.
Do you have a story to share about meeting another recipient purely by happenstance? I would love to read them! Reply to firstname.lastname@example.org and share any story you may have. We’d like to share it with our readers in a future article. We are a special community sharing a common bond. Help us discover your “in the wild” story.
Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend and hug a veteran!