I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Sack Lunches

The politics will be over soon and I know that every one is as exhausted with the subject as I am. I was thinking that I should write something today, but I decided that I had said enough over the past three months. If people think and believe as I do, then they don't need to hear anymore from me and if they don't think and believe as I do, I'm not likely to change them now.

Then this morning a friend sent the following story to me and I thought that it was worth sharing -- it's not about politics or politicians, but it is about how the actions of politicians and their approach to politics affect the lives of so many.

The Sack Lunches

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.
'Chicago - to Great Lakes Base. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq.'

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be a couple of hours before we reached Chicago, 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 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 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 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 sandwich. 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. And many of those are the politicians who were responsible for this "unholy" war to begin with.


Lilly said...

Oh that story brought tears to my eyes. Truly wonderful. Thanks for sharing. We need more stories like this instead of all the doom and gloom. Have a good weekend.

Great Grandma Lin said...

lovely story...like the music on your blog also. just clicked on over from Kay's blog.

Deborah Godin said...

Good thing I keep a box of kleenex within easy reach of the computer - thanks Sylvia!

Anonymous said...

Tears here, too. Thanks for posting that wonderful story.

Kay said...

This is such a beautiful story. I'm actually from the Chicagoland area. My doctors were all at the Great Lakes Naval Base where we got our medical care.

In the last 4 years I never had the same doctor in 6 months. I loved them all but they were being deployed. One doctor returned and I saw him again and he did not look good. In another month he was gone again and I never found out why.

An unholy war? Remember when Bush called it the Crusades? I guess his view was in the "glory" of Christians slaughtering Muslims. It's so sad. We've lost and wounded so many fine and wonderful soldiers...

Oh dear.... I've got to get off my soapbox. I'm sorry.

Dina said...

Shalom Sylvia. Some tears are falling into my breakfast oatmeal. Your generousity of wallet and of heart are very moving.

Mare said...

What a great random act of kindness. God bless you. The war makes me crazy and the young men and women who are over there..shouldn't be away from their families. When I was teaching, I used to organize colecting and mailing care packages to the service people. And I had my kids write to them, beginning on Veteran's Day. It was quite the learning activity, especially when the soldiers answered us in letters with pictures. I also read the post after this one- the very long letter- and I'm with you on that, too.

Raven said...

Deborah Godin guided me over here. This made me cry. I enjoyed the article at the top of your blog too on Obama. Great piece. I sure hope he wins.

Anonymous said...

Glad you shared that. We need more stories like that to divert our attention from all the same old same old happenings during the campaign that can keep your stomach in knots. Helps ground me.

storyteller said...

Thanks for sharing this story …
I look for a time when we all remember that we are ‘one’ … and what we do for others enriches everyone including ourselves. I’ve been under the weather and am way behind with everyone, but I’m glad THIS was the post I decided to read on your blog today. It lifted my spirits … and methinks I’ll add a link on my blogs … just because.
Hugs and blessings,

NicciN said...

Thanks for sharing about the power of kindness.

What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

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