Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Sack Lunches

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.

'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 embarrassedwhen 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 '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.'

May God give you the strength andLove, peace

In Honor of our Military

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