Couldn't resist passing this one along!!

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Jim Hudson
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Couldn't resist passing this one along!!

Postby Jim Hudson » Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:39 pm

I sat in my seat of the Boeing 767 waiting for everyone to hurry and stow their carry-ons and grab a seat so we could start what I was sure to be a long, uneventful flight home. With the huge capacity and slow moving people taking their time to stuff luggage far too big for the overhead and never paying much attention to holding up the growing line behind them, I simply shook my head knowing that this flight was not starting out very well.

I was anxious to get home to see my loved ones so I was focused on "my" issues and just felt like standing up and yelling for some of these clowns to get their act together. I knew I couldn't say a word so I just thumbed thru the "Sky Mall" magazine from the seat pocket in front of me.

You know it's really getting rough when you resort to the over priced, useless sky mall crap to break the monotony. With everyone finally seated, we just sat there with the cabin door open and no one in any hurry to get us going although we were well past the scheduled take off time. No wonder the airline industry is in trouble I told myself. Just then, the attendant came on the intercom to inform us all that we were being delayed. The entire plane let out a collective groan. She resumed speaking to say "We are holding the aircraft for some very special people who are on their way to the plane and the delay shouldn't be more than 5 minutes.

The word came after waiting six times as long as we were promised that "I" was finally going to be on my way home. Why the hoopla over "these" folks? I was expecting some celebrity or sport figure to be the reason for the hold up.........Just get their butts in a seat and lets hit the gas I thought.

The attendant came back on the speaker to announce in a loud and excited voice that we were being joined by several U.S. Marines returning home from Iraq!!! Just as they walked on board, the entire plane erupted into applause. The men were a bit taken by surprise by the 340 people cheering for them as they searched for their seats. They were having their hands shook and touched by almost everyone who was within an arm's distance of them as they passed down the aisle. One elderly woman kissed the hand of one of the Marines as he passed by her. The applause, whistles and cheering didn't stop for a long time. When we were finally airborne,

"I" was not the only civilian checking his conscience as to the delays in "me" getting home, finding my easy chair, a cold beverage and the remote in my hand. These men had done for all of us and I had been complaining silently about "me" and "my" issues. I took for granted the everyday freedoms I enjoy and the conveniences of the American way of life I took for granted others paid the price for my ability to moan and complain about a few minutes delay to "me" those Heroes going home to their loved ones.

I attempted to get my selfish outlook back in order and minutes before we landed I suggested to the attendant that she announce over the speaker a request for everyone to remain in their seats until our hero's were allowed to gather their things and be first off the plane. The cheers and applause continued until the last Marine stepped off and we all rose to go about our too often taken for granted everyday freedoms......... I felt proud of them. I felt it an honor and a privilege to be among the first to welcome them home and say Thank You for a job well done.

I vowed that I will never forget that flight nor the lesson learned. I can't say it enough, THANK YOU to those Veterans and active servicemen and women who may read this and a prayer for those who cannot because they are no longer with us. GOD BLESS AMERICA! WELCOME HOME! AND THANKS FOR A JOB WELL DONE !!!!!
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Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:36 pm

Thanks Jim, we all need to remember how insignifcant our frustrations are at times.
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Postby Jack fowler » Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:08 pm

The same thing happened when flying to Paris, France last June when the aircraft pilot made a detour over the beaches of Normandie, France. He tilted the wing of the aircraft toward the beaches and stated over the intercom, “I know we have veterans of D-day on this aircraft that are going back to the 60th Anniversary of the invasion into Europe. I just want to thank you for being the greatest generation and making the free world as we know it today.” When the aircraft leveled, everyone got up from their seats and sang to the veterans God Bless America followed by the Star Spangled Banner than cheers and applause.

I was told on that flight there were a total of 120 Americans of approximately 340 people.

When the aircraft landed at Charles De Gaulle Airport, everyone that was on the aircraft lined the exit ramp and applause as veterans departed.

If I can post a picture, this is one of many towns in Normandie, France giving thanks to the veterans 60 years later.

Jack Fowler
Last edited by Jack fowler on Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Larry in IN » Sun Dec 12, 2004 3:11 am

Jim & Jack [and all]
Thanks for the posts on this thread.
It is discouraging to see 'us' with so much 'business as usual' when we have such serious business going on.
Blessedly, there are times that bring reality closer to home.
Jack, I wonder if those people at Normandie + 60 years all agreed with their government that the US was the bad guy in the recent fracas?
May God Bless America!
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Postby Jack fowler » Sun Dec 12, 2004 5:05 am

Generally in Europe we (Americans) are known as people who want to help.

When In Europe this past year, I lived with various families along the way. They all were very appreciative of what the United States did for them in WWII.In ST.Lo, France I stayed with a French Doctor’s family which had a US flag hanging out their front door entrance so the front porch light would shine on it at night.

Generally most people I associated with tried to keep the politics out of the conversations. Generally what you see via the news media is the minority of the people in Europe.

Most of the free world is very envious of us (Americans) of our freedom. Not just freedoms to do as we choose, but freedom of land ownership and choose where we work and live.

In my own mind, I wonder how much that freedom is going to cost us without some help from other countries.

In France the US Army 29th infantry Division was there to honor the veterans of D-day. It was announced during the ceremonies the Division was leaving for Iraq after its tour with the WWII veterans.

When the 29th Division marched throughout all the towns of Normandie and including Paris, France all you saw was cheers and waving with all five fingers.

Jack, I wonder if those people at Normandie + 60 years all agreed with their government that the US was the bad guy in the recent fracas?

I guess it goes back to what an old farmer said to me once; “believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see”

I thought I could “back door” into ofoto and post pictures. It worked for about a half hour and stopped. I guess I’ll have to spend a couple bucks and try picture trail if I want to post pictures.

Jack Fowler
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Postby Harold R » Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:19 am

I noticed you said "generally" a few times.

I spent my summers there from the time I was born until I was off to college. I've witnessed a change in attitude over the years. In the '60's, we had a free lunch from one end of the village to the other.(where my mother lived.) They all wanted to see the Americans. Pretty much the same in the '70s. Starting in the eighties, when I became politically alert, I noticed a change in sentiment, "generally" from the younger crowd.
By the late '90's, we were to blame for everything from bad music,(Rap),unruley teens, gangs, and yes, graffitti. (There got to be a trend of spray painting historical and cultural sites.)
From that point on, I don't think the sentiment has worsened, perhaps improved. There's still debate from the Chirac and DeVillpin<sp> supporters. I'd say anyone that is 50 or older is still supportive of the U.S. and most of our policies. But the main crux of debate these days seems to be the vast influx of Muslims. I gather from conversations with relatives that this concerns them the most.

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