This following story came via my girl's email...sent to her from a friend...who got it from a friend...and so on, and so on...
I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought. Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me.. I decided to start a conversation.
'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. 'Petawawa' we'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan .
After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...
As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.'
His friend agreed.
I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arm and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq , it's almost like you are doing it for him.'
Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.
'This is your thanks.'
After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.
Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seat belt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.
Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.
When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!
Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'
Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.
As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little.
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including their life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
May God give you the strength and courage to pass this along to everyone on your email buddy list.
I JUST DID
Let us pray...
Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!
Please send this on after a short prayer.
'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need.
When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.I think today would be a good day for remembering the practice of random acts of kindness to our soldiers; if you see one, tell them thank you, by them a coffee, let them know we wouldn't be here without them, ask them if they need anything; or go to a new organization (and just one of many) called http://www.comfortforoursoldiers.com/ -- the site provides an itemized list of personal belongings which were destroyed in a recent fire on base in Afghanistan -- it is a perpetual wish list basically.
There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.
GOD BLESS YOU FOR PASSING IT ON!
A Marine wife from our local Camp Pendleton began the operation to fill in a need; while in this moment of recollecting one of last week's thoughts, where our home should rise up to meet us, imagine that home for a year being in the desert of Afghanistan? Imagine creating a makeshift home away from home where a good night sleep never happens, a family never kisses us goodnight, and anything remotely personal and endearing is lost in a fire? Now, imagine the kind of person who volunteers to do it?
My unending gratitude goes out to the troops past, present and future -- with a very special hug and a kiss to my papa, who was lucky enough to always come home.
Make it a Good Day, G