Julia A. Maki – Book Excerpt – Crossing the Line

Julia A. Maki, Navy Veteran & Author
“Ma’am, I need your ID. NOW.” His young voice boomed. I slowly obeyed, still
dumbfounded. What else could I do? He led me away from the van, but remaining in the stream
of the bright headlights. It was then I noticed out of the corner of my eye that we were slowing
becoming surrounded by more security men and vehicles. Again, he yelled at me, “On your
knees, hands behind your head.” I was in disbelief and still had no idea what was going on. I
was in uniform – a 19-year-old girl in an American US Navy uniform and driving a government
vehicle. And yet, I was still being treated like I had a turban on my head and a swastika on my
My aggressor walked a few feet away from me and began talking and pointing all over
the place to his partner. He also made intermittent calls on his radio. I began to notice the ice on
the ground melting from the heat of my flesh under my uniform onto the skin of my knees. All I
could think about was what was going to happen to me and what kind of trouble was I going to
be in. How did this happen? I still had two flight schedules left to deliver!
Eventually the partner, a seemingly much more compassionate individual, came over to
me. Noticing the look of fear on my face, he spoke to me reassuringly. “It’s alright ma’am.
We’ll get this taken care of.”
Noticing an opportunity, I jumped in quickly. “Can you please tell me what’s going on?”
I pleaded. I tried to keep my voice as neutral as possible. I was terrified, yet furious that they
could treat me like this. Me, fellow military. I was also mortified. I kept looking around to see
if anyone came out of our hangar, which wasn’t too far away and still within good viewing
range. I felt the embarrassment one feels sitting on the side of the road as they’re receiving a
ticket for speeding while seeing all rubberneckers passing by – only 1000 times stronger due to
the M-16 in my face.
I thought of how my dad always warned us to never point a gun at anyone at any time.
Even if it is unloaded – which I’m sure this one was not. Clearly this guy was not too
conscientious of his gun aiming. Dad would have been livid with his poor gun etiquette and
would not have been afraid to tell this shmuck how things really are.
The two glanced at each other as if they were sending out secret messages above my
head. Why won’t they tell me what was going on? Such nerve.
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