Monday, March 2, 2009

The Sack Lunches

The following story is just something I received in my e-mail a couple of weeks ago. Some of you might have seen it already, but I'm sure not all did, and I figured it was 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 one 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, an 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...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'America for an amount of up to and including his life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

May God give you the strength and courage to pass this along to everyone on your email list, your blogs, and anywhere else it can be seen by others. It might make a good poster to hang in high traffic areas so it can be read by people with no internet access.

There are many inspirational stories like this, but I think this was one of the better ones. It certainly is the kind of thing that deserves to be heard about!


Chuck said...

Thanks for sharing such a great story

Anonymous said...

I read this before but darned if it doesn't give me chills everytime! Thanks for posting it!!

Tapline said...

AA,great post....They get much more than we use to. While deployed, trying to keep to families going. Yourself and the better half left at home really stretches the almighty dollar. Been there,,,,done that.....stay well...

Z said...

pass the Kleenex, please.

Brooke said...

Geez, I'm getting teary. Thanks for posting this!

Average American said...

Thanks everyone, I'm glad you liked it. It amazes me how such an inexpensive gesture can generate such gratitude. What was $50.00 to make 10 of America's finest feel so appreciated?

I never, ever pass up the opportunity to say "THANK YOU" to veterans I meet, and whenever possible, I buy them a beer to show I really mean it. I wish everyone would go out of their way to REALLY support our troops and veterans. God knows they deserve it!

Ray said...

Simply awesome. Many fine American patriots still exist, many of them right here on these blogs. Thanks man I emailed that thing with a link.

Anonymous said...

Nice one Joe, i'll spread the word in due course.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't our country be much different if these stories
headlined the news!

Always Right said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Average American said...

Ray, MK, thanks for passing this on. People need to hear the good news once in a while.

Elvis, it certainly would. That's why we bloggers have to pick up the baton and do the heavy lifting, the MSM won't. Thanks for dropping in. It's always nice to get a visit from a fellow New Hampshirite.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Certainly a far cry from our day. Damn, it's about time we appreciate our soldiers. Small words and gestures mean so much when you don't know what you're heading into. Thanks for the post.

WomanHonorThyself said...

youre the best buddy..Semper Fi..and (hugsssssssss) to u!:)

My Blog said...

Great post my friend. I think we are on the same page.
Keep it going .. I'll be back

Average American said...

L&O Teacher, it was OUR generation of veterans that made sure what happened to us would never be repeated. Vietnam and Korean vets throughtout this great land met returning troops of the first gulf war and again with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to ensure they received a heroes welcome back. That burning desire to make sure they were treated so right probably came from us being treated so terribly wrong! I am so thankful that this thinking seems to have spread to most Americans.

Angel, I just love when you drop by with those hugs. Thanks so much for them!

My Blog, thank you. I agree, we're on the same wavelength.

shoprat said...

Great story indeed.

Pistolmom said...

Very good!

Anonymous said...

Pistolmom Please stop trolling

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

Stops for stopping by my blogs........Welcome aboard. Love your blog.. I have added you ..... Look forward to more cerebral minded people.

Peace and stay safe

Average American said...

Shoprat, thank you, yes it certainly is a great story, one that should be repeated more often.

Pistolmom, thank you for commenting and dropping by. I'll check it out when I have more time.

Anomynous, ah, don't know what to say. I would prefer at least a first name in the future though.

Coppurr, thank you, and you have a very nice blog also. You stay safe too.

Gecko said...

Thank you for posting this, it bought tears to my eyes, so nice to know there are still some great caring people out there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful post

God Bless

Grandpa-Old Soldier said...

I have read this before, but it has been a while. I read it again and got a lump in my throat. Being a vet means a lot to me and I am proud of our men an women in the military and will do anything I can to support them. Thanks for this post.P.S. I have eaten many a sack lunch.

Average American said...

Gecko, thanks for visiting and for the comment. I stopped by and visited your place, very nice.

American Girl, thank you, and might I say, you had a fantastic post today also. Hopefully, people reading this will check it out!

Old Soldier, it seems as though us vets will forever have a special affinity for our brothers and sisters in uniform. God knows they deserve much better than the treatment we got back in the day. I for one try to make sure they do.

Sack lunches, or as I used to get a lot of, cold, left-over from previous wars, c-rations. Sometimes, a piece of mechanics wire would allow myself and the Huey gunner to hang them in the exhaust as the chopper was shutting down. AH, what a treat THAT was!

KG said...

Many thanks for posting that AA.
As one who got abuse and indifference as thanks for 'his' war, all I can say's wonderful to see these young men thanked and honoured.
They're America's finest and we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude, even those of us who are American in spirit, just born in another place.
Who Dares Wins

Anonymous said...

That was a great story, it gave me the chills. The line about the blank check is the line that got me.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

This is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful post. I've just finished watching "Taking Chance" and I am not ashamed to admit that I shed tears reading this. I have linked you on my Friday post.

Thank you, AA.


Average American said...

KG, thank you for the glowing remarks, and thank you for your service, I am assuming in Vietnam. I felt the same pain. It's one reason I will not let the same thing happen to today's generation of vets.

Mr. Pink Eyes, This type of story always pulls tears out of my eye sockets. I just can't help it. The line about the blank check is definately memorable.

BZ, thank you for the compliment and for passing it along. I don't care what anyone says, real men DO cry, at least the ones with a heart and a soul. No shame in that! Most things patriotic get me teary-eyed. Taps--that's good for several tissues.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Love this story! Thank you for posting it up.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'America for an amount of up to and including his life.'

Perfectly said!

Anonymous said...

A great story if I ever heard one.

Average American said...

Wordsmith, yes, that was a perfect line. I wish I could take the credit, but it was part of the e-mail.

Throwing Stones, That's what I thought and I wanted to get as many people as possible to see it, and maybe spread the good deeds done for our service people and veterans.

a red voice said...

I read this before as well, but thank you for sharing it. What a great touching story.
It is a story of how we should be -We should be thankful to all of the troops who go out and risk their lives for our freedom.

Let us not forget....
It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag serves under the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives the protester the right to burn the flag.

Thanks to our Troops!!!

Average American said...

Red Voice, I agree, this is how people should treat our troops. Amazingly, patriotism and positive feelings for our servicepeople are much better than in the past. Maybe there is hope afterall. Thank you so much for adding the part about who protects our rights. Nice touch.