Yesterday at National Airport, waiting for her plane, the Crone watched men and women of the US Customs and Border Protection form a guard of honor at the end of a jetway, ready to welcome families of public servants killed in the line of duty. The rest of the business of the airport went on around them—the Crone knew what was going on only because she stopped a man in uniform and asked. When the plane landed, the guard stood to attention and saluted. They stayed that way until all the passengers had melted into the masses headed for baggage claim. First off the plane, an African American woman in her twenties, with two ponytailed girls aged maybe 7 and 9, their backpacks bouncing. Then another black woman with a toddler and a baby in a stroller. More young widows and small children and a young man or two (all of them black) plus a middle aged white couple. Last off, an older black woman, somebody’s mom. As they passed by, the airline attendant at the top of the jetway never stopped that busy and important typing they all do, her acrylics tapping on her keyboard the whole way through.
Once she got to Atlanta, the Crone checked out the Customs and Border Protection website, to see if she could find out more about the honorees and the losses they’d suffered. No info, but honestly, check out the site to learn more about the work these people do: a cobra in a jar confiscated yesterday in Miami; $20,000 worth of cocaine seized at Dulles: and photos of a man with smuggled birds strapped to his ankles, just in fromVietnam. Who knew?