Sack Lunches

 

 

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 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 '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.' 
  
    
    
 
  
 

 

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