Salt Lake International Airport

The President is Coming

President Milt and Sister Karlyn Russon (my Dad and Mom) had served in Australia as mission president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from July 1966 to July 1969. They had been released and were on their way home. Word got out to the ward members and the Val Verda 2nd Nauvoo Marching Band organizers that they were to be at the Salt Lake Airport . In the past people were allowed to go to airport gates to welcome their friends and loved ones home. Also at this time there were extenuating circumstances that required frequent gate changes. This was one of those times.

Mom and Dad were scheduled to come in to gate A8, thus all of us including a 30+ piece band were waiting at that gate. A plane came in and we were all ready to play and cheer when the airport speaker system announced that there was a change of gate for their plane. They would be coming in at gate A4.

When this announcement was made, the word went loudly through our large group that “The President” was now coming into gate A4. Immediately our whole group; family, friends, ward members and Band headed to gate A4. The big problem was that no one specified to the other folks at the gate which “President” thus people around us misunderstood and thought it was President Nixon (US president at the time) coming in at gate A4. Everyone joined in the rush to see the president!

When we got to gate A4 mom and dad were just getting off the plane. As soon as they were spotted the band started playing the Star Spangled Banner. That was probably OK, however many uniformed military individuals were returning home from Vietnam and were also walking on the tarmac. When the music started those poor souls had to stop in place, go to attention and salute … while their loved ones waited impatiently inside the gate to give them their welcoming hugs and kisses.

As the Star Spangled Banner was finished, welcomes continued and all ended well.