November 21, 2006

Tribute to the Troops.

When I was discharged from the Army in the 1970's we were in the midst of the malaise that had enveloped not only the military in the aftermath of Vietnam but the whole country as a result of Nixon, inflation, Carter, the Iranian hostage crisis, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. I would have said at the time that this once great nation and the people that fought two world wars for the sake of democracy and all that we stand for were no longer up to the task.
Then I look at the men and women that in the last five years have willingly fought and died so valiantly for those same principles and you can not help but be proud of them and the county that has produced them.
When my son returned home from a year of duty in Afghanistan I was thankful that he returned safely but at the same time proud of him and his dedication to a cause that most people can not understand. And like 75% of those that have served, he has re-enlisted. We owe them our thanks, support, praise, and admiration.

Take a few minutes to check out this tribute video. Who is this American Warrior.

In a similar vein I am also amazed at some of the touching and unselfish acts of kindness that some of these returning troops have encountered.

By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours. United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another flight. They weren't getting many takers. Finally, a United spokeswoman got on the PA and said this, "Folks. As you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days of leave and we're trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport then they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight. If we can, we want to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you're doing, we are here for you and we love you."
At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, a cross-section of America, broke into sustained and heartfelt applause. The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears.
And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight.

"Just as I was began to tell the ticket agent that we were trying to get these soldiers on an earlier flight, the gentleman interrupted and asked, 'First class?' I said no, they're flying coach. He replied, 'I will pay to fly them first class!'"
Out of the four soldiers, the generous gentleman paid for three to fly home (to North Dakota and South Dakota) first class. He would have paid for all four, but the fourth soldier was connecting to an Airlink flight and first class was not available.

Dallas: Gifts To Soldiers Reap Many Returns

Las Vegas: Read the whole thing. This young man exemplifies the caliber of the military personnel we have today. The part that I thought was also amazing, "After the long flight from Germany, one Green Beret awoke after the plane landed and found a note on his chest from a civilian seatmate. "The drinks are on me," it said. It contained $500.

If anyone comes across any similar examples I would like to post them. S

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