[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Fred sent along this article especially
for Veterans Day which was Friday, but it got here too late to appear
in the issues of the Digest which went out yesterday. His sentiments
are very good and appropriate for the occassion. PAT]
I sat in my seat of the Boeing 767 waiting for everyone to hurry and
stow their carry-ons and grab a seat so we could start what I was sure
to be a long, uneventful flight home.
With the huge capacity and slow moving people taking their time to
stuff luggage far too big for the overhead and never paying much
attention to holding up the growing line behind them, I simply shook
my head knowing that this flight was not starting out very well. I
was anxious to get home to see my loved ones so I was focused on my
issues and just felt like standing up and yelling for some of these
clowns to get their act together.
I knew I couldn't say a word so I just thumbed thru the "Sky Mall"
magazine from the seat pocket in front of me. You know it's really
getting rough when you resort to the over priced, useless sky mall
crap to break the monotony.
With everyone finally seated, we just sat there with the cabin door
open and no one in any hurry to get us going although we were well
past the scheduled take off time.
No wonder the airline industry is in trouble I told myself.
Just then, the attendant came on the intercom to inform us all that
we were being delayed. The entire plane let out a collective groan.
She resumed speaking to say "We are holding the aircraft for some very
special people who are on their way to the plane and the delay
shouldn't be more than 5 minutes.
The word came after waiting six times as long as we were promised that
I was f inally going to be on my way home.
Why the hoopla over "these" folks?
I was expecting some celebrity or sport figure to be the reason for
the hold up ...
Just get their butts in a seat and let's hit the gas I thought.
The attendant came back on the speaker to announce in a loud and
excited voice that we were being joined by several U.S. Marines
returning home from Iraq !!!
Just as they walked on board, the entire plane erupted into applause.
The men were a bit taken by surprise by the 340 people cheering for
them as they searched for their seats.
They were having their hands shook and touched by almost everyone who
was within an arm's distance of them as they passed down the
aisle. One elderly woman kissed the hand of one of the Marines as he
passed by her. The applause, whistles and cheering didn't stop for a
When we were finally airborne, I was not the only civilian checking
his conscience as to the delays in "me" getting home, finding my easy
chair, a cold beverage and the remote in my hand.
These men had done for all of us and I had been complaining silently
about "me" and "my" issues I took for granted the everyday freedoms I
enjoy and the conveniences of the American way of life.
I took for granted that others had paid the price for my ability to
moan and complain about a few minutes delay to "me" while those Heroes
were going home to their loved ones.
I attempted to get my selfish outlook back in order and minutes before
we landed, I suggested to the attendant that she announce over the
speaker a request for everyone to remain in their seats until our
heroes were allowed to gather their things and be first off the plane.
The cheers and applause continued until the last Marine stepped off
and we all rose to go about our too often taken for gr! anted everyday
I felt proud of them.
I felt it an honor and a privilege to be among the first to welcome
them home and say "Thank You for a job well done."
I vowed that I will never forget that flight nor the lesson learned. I
can't say it enough, THANK YOU to those Veterans and active servicemen
and women who may read this and a prayer for those who cannot because
they are no longer with us.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
WELCOME HOME! AND THANKS FOR A JOB WELL DONE!!!!!
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Ditto from myself and I am sure, many
readers of this Digest. Regardless of what you or I may think about
the situation in Iraq and other parts of the world, it is _not_ the
fault of these brave men and women, who are there following the
instructions they have been given. Although the end result of the war
in Iraq may well turn out to be the debacle we saw in Vietnam, and I
would not be surprised if it did turn out that way, considering the
higher up authorities in our nation and their role in it all, at least
I hope the American public has 'wised up' enough to place any blame
where it belongs, which is _not_ on the average American
soldier. Bless them, one and all. PAT]