On a flight...

Tags: HeroStories

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.

' Great Lakes Air Base.  We'll be there

for two weeks for special training, and then we're deployed to Iraq .

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 Chicago , and I

quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard 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 Chicago .

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 seat belt 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 in Chicago 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...

" 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.


On veterans Day this year please say a prayer for the families of our Nations Fallen Heroes and thank a veteran for his or her service to our country.

John "KIKS" Ki