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. Patawawa. We’ll be there for two 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.” He 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 of those soldiers”. She grabbed my arms 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.’
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!
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 my life.’
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.’
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that honors all the women who are part of the United States Military Family.