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
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 finally 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
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. Soldiers returning home from
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 Soldiers as he passed by her.
The applause, whistles and cheering didn't stop for a long time.
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 Soldier stepped off and we
all rose to go about our too often taken for granted everyday freedoms.
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.
When I came home for Mid Tour Leave from Iraq I had much this same experience and I just wanted to share this story and let everyone know how great it makes a soldier feel for the selfless service we provide. So thank you
Edited by mattsin30, 24 August 2006 - 05:01 PM.