Precious Moments

I always find I'm torn when it's "time to go" between shoving my husband away and grabbing him and never letting go. It's that weird stage when you want the clock to start ticking and you want time to stand still.

Well, guess what?

WASHINGTON - It's a scene that's played out in airports across the country numerous times in the past eight years: Families and servicemembers clinging to each other, either sad to leave or happy and vowing to never let go again.

The emotion always is appropriate, but the location of the scene - just beyond the airline ticket counters and before the security checkpoint - robs the actors of precious minutes with loved ones. Those lost minutes are unnecessary, at least as far as the Transportation Security Administration is concerned, a TSA spokesman said.

"TSA permits the airlines to offer a gate pass to family members of arriving or departing U.S. servicemembers," Greg Soule said. "So, family members who want to accompany a ... servicemember being deployed to the boarding gate, or greet them [as they return] from deployment at the arrival gate may receive passes to enter the secure area of the airport."

Though TSA allows this practice, the final decision rests with the airlines, from which family members must request the passes. Each airline, and possibly even airport, has its own rules and procedures, Soule said.

Personally, this policy would be better for me on the return portion. I'd love to meet my husband at the gate. I seem to have issues finding him otherwise.

More information here.

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