Independence Day in the United States, better known as the “Fourth of July”, is my favorite holiday. “What an odd choice!” I hear you exclaim. Here’s the thing: The Fourth of July is the only major holiday that isn’t somehow underpinned by religion, race, occupation, or memorial. Simply put, it’s a holiday for all. To celebrate, you need only be in America, be an American abroad, or — I would argue — be possessed of a deep love of freedom that the American Revolution helped to make possible. Combine that with the simple beauty and possibility that warm weather brings, and we have a winner. It’s no wonder airline ticket prices skyrocket this weekend. Why wouldn’t you seize the long weekend adventure?
So with that in mind your Wine:Thirty Flight friends have two wishes for you. The first is that you celebrate the holiday for all. The second is that you wish a sincere thanks to the next Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee you come across at the airport.
Just as the Fourth of July is a holiday for all Americans, so too are our TSA officers the public servants without a holiday. The more holiday we celebrate, the tougher things get for them. The more we travel, the harder they work. It’s true that they’re not the only ones; I can make a long list of my Coast Guard shipmates who have spent more than one holiday weekend inspecting boats, directing traffic on the water, and chasing down kids to put their life jackets on... but Coasties get Veterans Day, and fallen ones are remembered with fondness and respect on Memorial Day, and most can’t say that Thanksgiving tangibly quintuples their workload.
We know that the most time most travelers ever spend thinking about the TSA is when it has somehow inconvenienced us. And it’s true, we travelers are subject to frustrating rules and procedures... but as we navigate the airport, the folks at TSA are working hard to keep us safe. And I guarantee you that nobody ever “thanks them for their service”.
Frustrating as the rules can be, this is an organization filled (like any organization) with good people, real human beings, who are supporting their families by being away from them on holidays like the Fourth of July so that your family can be safe traveling to great places for the Fourth of July. You may not love their rules, but these folks deserve our appreciation and respect as public servants, and most importantly, as fellow citizens of this great country where freedom of movement, amazing wine (though not in bottles larger than 3 ounces if you’re taking it through airport security), and Boeing airplanes are as American as fireworks in early July.
Happy Fourth to all Americans, all travelers, and the good people who make this weekend with far away friends and family possible!