"Ma'am," he said, reaching for the door. He held it open, his posture as erect and sturdy as a pole.
I eyed the man's uniform, the pins and badges that signified his military rank and position. At that moment I felt opposing forces wash over me, clashing internally like a cold and warm front meeting in the air.
At first I was hit by a burning sense of respect and gratitude. How privileged a person I was to have this soldier unbar the way for me, maintaining a clear path that I might advance unhindered. The symbolism marked by his actions did strike me with remarkable intensity. How many virtual doors would be shut in my face if not for dutiful soldiers like him?
As I went to step forward, my feet nearly faltered as if they felt unworthy. It was I who ought to be holding open the door for this gentleman—this representative of great heroes present and past who did fight and sacrifice and continue to do so to keep doors open, paths free and clear for all of humanity.
I moved through the entrance and thanked him.
"Yes, ma'am," he said.
How strange that I should feel such pride while passing through his open door.