This story’s been circulating in email, and though the Snopes page doesn’t have a determination of its truth, the story is well worth repeating anyway.
I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. ‘I’m glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,’ I thought.
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.
”Petawawa. We’ll be there for two weeks 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.” His 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 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.”
After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. “I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.” He handed me twenty-five dollars.
Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, “I want to shake your hand.” Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain’s hand.. With a booming voice he said, “I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.” I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.
Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A 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!
Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. 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.
Every time each of you makes a card or donates shipping funds—think of it as “buying lunch” for one of countless heroes who may never hear a “thank you” from America. Thank you for all you do to honor their service by giving so much from your heart.
Her hair was up in a pony tail,
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy’s Day at school,
and she couldn’t wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
that she probably should stay home
Why the kids might not understand,
if she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn’t there today.
But still her mother worried,
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
she tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
a dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back,
for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
anxious in their seats
One by one the teacher called
a student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
as seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
a man who wasn’t there.
‘Where’s her daddy at?’
She heard a boy call out.
‘She probably doesn’t have one,’
another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say,
‘Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day.’
The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
came words incredibly unique.
‘My Daddy couldn’t be here,
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
since this is such a special day.
And though you can not meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
and taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I’m not standing here alone.
‘Cause my daddy’s always with me,
even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
he’ll forever be in my heart’
With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere there in the crowd of dads,
her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down,
staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
but its message clear and loud.
‘I love my daddy very much,
he’s my shining star.
And if he could, he’d be here,
but heaven’s just too far.
You see he is a Marine
and died just this past year
When a roadside bomb hit his convoy
and taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it’s like he never went away.’
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.
And to her mother’s amazement,
she witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them,
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
they saw him at her side.
‘I know you’re with me Daddy,’
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
by the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.
[Received in an email…inpsirational!]
For those who are unaware, at all military theaters, the National Anthem is played before every movie, a long standing tradition. This was purportedly written by a Chaplain; Snopes has nothing on it, so it’s not certain it was, but….it’s worth posting anyway!
I recently attended a showing of ‘Superman 3’ here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem the music stopped.
Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18 to 22-year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments; and everyone would sit down and call for a movie.. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.
Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter, as everyone finally sat down and expected the movie to start.
But here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off:
“And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq . I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here. Remember them as they fight for you!
Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. For many have already paid the ultimate price..
The Marine stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
‘Step forward now, Marine,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?’
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
‘No, Lord, I guess I ain’t.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.
I know I don’t deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears
If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Marine waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
‘Step forward now, you Marine,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.’
This has circulated in emails for some time, and is just one more inspiration for Red Fridays:
“Will you give this to my Daddy?”
Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia att ending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.
When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I’m not alone. I’m not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.
Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said ‘hi.’
The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.
The young soldier, who didn’t look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her Daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.
When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of t he other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.
After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, ‘I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.’ He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying ‘your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.’
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.
As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our heroes and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it’s good to be an American.
RED FRIDAYS —– You see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the ‘silent majority’. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.
We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops.
Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.
By word of mouth, press, TV — let’s make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once ‘silent’ majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on.
We’re taking “Red Fridays” one step further – and encouraging the blogosphere to do something on Fridays. Post what you’re doing for our nation’s heroes; write about a hometown hero; share a video; decorate your blog in red on Fridays! Whatever you feel up to doing. And if you don’t have a blog? Post something on your Facebook page. On your MySpace. Tweet about our heroes, link people to inspiring stories that will keep our nation’s bravest men and women at the top of everyone’s thoughts.
Let’s not let a week go by without everyone we know being reminded to be grateful for the hard work done every day on their behalf by warriors who they’ll never meet.
Stay tuned to the Homefront Blog each Friday, where our “Red Friday” post will link to all those posting for the day.
God bless America!