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 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 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 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 Marine 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.
WELCOME HOME SON! AND THANKS FOR A JOB WELL DONE!!!!!
I dedicate this to my son, Chris and all of the men and women of our armed forces. Thank you!
Valor May 2006
Conquest April 2005
Conquest April 2004
Holiday May 2000
I go from Laughing at the Jeff Foxworthy jokes, to crying with your post. May the love that you and the other passengers displayed, never stop. Did you know that the soldiers are reminded in their formations, that it might be a time, that they are not welcome, but booed. It didn't happen this time I see. Great job.
Thank you so much for sharing this. We all too often take our liberties for granted.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
I too went from laughing at the Hoosier jokes, sending it to a friend whose license plate says Hoosier to getting goose bumps from reading your post. The same thing happened to my youngest son when he returned from Iraq last year. He had volunteered to help others with their luggage and was surprised when he was offered someones First Class seat. He was a very proud 19 y/o! I thank him, his 2 brothers also in the USMC and everyone serving our country everyday.
Thank you for sharing and I will pass this story on to them.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
excellent post, I enjoyed reading it. Sometimes every one of us needs a wake up call in our self-enveloped world. I don't think we should be in Iraq and so many military have died, but my second thought is always if we hadn't taken a stand how long before AlQueda visits us again?
I saw where Mgram found this story on the net. To call it an urban legion is a little harsh, but it is there, word for word. What I can tell you is that this type of thing goes on everyday. I know because I have witnessed it with my own hubby and his soldiers. We must all remember those brave men and women, who are on the line, protecting us. You will always have people spouting that the war is for oil, but for those who appreciate the fact that 911 has not happened again, should know it has been in part thanks to these soldiers.
I have been in airports and the entire room rise to their tired feet and clap, because there was a soldier in the room.