Stop and Consider This

Discussion in 'Military' started by Granny, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Granny
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    Granny Gold Member

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    A bit emotional:

    > MAY GOD BLESS THIS AIRLINE CAPTAIN:
    >
    >
    > He writes:
    > My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. on this
    > flight." (H.R. stands for human remains.) "Are they military?"
    > I asked.
    >
    > 'Yes', she said.
    >
    > 'Is there an escort?' I asked.
    >
    > 'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.
    >
    > 'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck.
    > You can board him early," I said..
    >
    > A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck.
    > He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier.
    > He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier.
    > The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are
    > still alive and still with us.
    >
    >
    > 'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ,' he said.
    >
    > He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.
    >
    > I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no.
    > I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I
    > appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers.
    >
    > The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand.
    > He left the flight deck to find his seat.
    >
    > We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an
    > uneventful departure.
    >
    > About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight
    > attendant in the cabin.
    >
    > 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on
    > board', she said.
    > She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year
    > old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home.
    > The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that
    > the soldier was in before we left.
    > We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait
    > four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .
    >
    > The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son
    > was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too
    > much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant
    > if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our
    > arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the
    > soldier being taken off the airplane.. I could hear the desperation in the
    > flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could
    > do.. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.
    >
    > Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of
    > e-mail like messages.
    > I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher
    > directly on a secondary radio.
    >
    > There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects
    > you to the telephone of the dispatcher.
    >
    > I was in direct contact with the dispatcher.. I explained the
    > situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted.
    > He said he understood and that he would get back to me.
    >
    > Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were
    > going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family.
    > I sent a text message asking for an update.
    > I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the
    > text:
    >
    > 'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is
    > policy on this now and I had to check on a few things.
    > Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft.
    > The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will
    > be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family
    > will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where
    > the remains can be seen on the ramp.
    > It is a private area for the family only.
    > When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the
    > ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg
    > home.
    > Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our
    > condolences on to the family. Thanks.'
    >
    > I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job.
    > I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to
    > pass on to the father.
    > The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no
    > idea how much this will mean to them.'
    >
    > Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing.
    > After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area.
    > The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway.
    > It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to
    > enter and exit.
    > When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were
    > told that all traffic was being held for us.
    >
    > 'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told.
    > It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we
    > turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay
    > the family from getting off the airplane.
    > As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp
    > controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the
    > passengers.
    > He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'
    >
    > I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake.
    > I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this
    > is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a
    > special announcement.
    > We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect.
    > His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life.
    > Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today
    > is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX.
    > Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter.
    > Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their
    > seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'
    >
    > We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our
    > shutdown procedures.
    >
    > A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door.
    > I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do
    > not see.
    > I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft
    > stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.
    >
    > When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly
    > started to clap his hands.
    > Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was
    > clapping.
    > Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind
    > words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle
    > and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be
    > with their loved one.
    >
    > Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I
    > had made.
    > They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again,
    > but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.
    >
    >
    > I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the
    > sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom
    > and safety in these United States of AMERICA .
    >
    > Foot note:
    > As a Viet Nam Veteran I can only think of all the veterans including the
    > ones that r ode below the deck on their way home and how they we were
    > treated.
    >
    > When I read things like this I am proud that our country has not turned
    > their backs on our soldiers returning from the various war zones today and
    > give them the respect they so deserve.
    >
    > I know every one who has served their country who reads this will have
    > tears in their eyes, including me.
    > Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!
    >
    > Please send this on after a short prayer for our service men and women.
    > Don't break it!
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > They die for me and mine and you and yours and deserve our honor and
    > respect.
    >
    > Prayer: 'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as
    > they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they
    > perform for us in our time of need. Amen.'
    >
    > Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a
    > prayer for our troops around the world.
    >
    > There is nothing attached.
    > Just send this to people in your address book.
    > Do not let it stop with you.
    > Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, &
    > others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.
    >
    > GOD BLESS YOU!!!
    >
    >
    > A good exercise for the heart is to reach out and help another up!
    >
    > ~ Have a blessed day! ~
    >
     
  2. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Good post.

    I support our troops.
    I do not however support many things our government does with them.
    I volunteered for a few years to help returning vets having problems reintegrating into our society. It was tough, but I feel I really made a difference.
    Some of them will be at my home for a Thanksgiving dinner.
    My condition caused me to stop volunteering with them a year or so ago, but a couple of those I helped are now paying it forward for those having trouble.

    One can pretty much despise the military and still love the troops.
    Many cannot understand this, but I feel it helped me with several to deal with their resentment of the military for their disabilities.
     
  3. Granny
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    Granny Gold Member

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    An excellent response - you're absolutely right.
     

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