A Simple Thank You

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Keith Holman
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A Simple Thank You

Post by Keith Holman » Sun Nov 05, 2006 7:58 pm

This was forwarded to me by a shipmate and I felt it appropriate for this audience.
Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.

No, he responded.

Heading out I asked?

No. I'm escorting a soldier home.

Going to pick him up?

No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq. I'm taking him home to his family.

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier's family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days. I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.

Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign."

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American.

So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do.

signed: Stuart Margel -- Washington, D.C.

Also, here are two very touching photos honored at this years International Picture of the Year.

Image
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac.

During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: "See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should.
Image
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."

"No arsenal, no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

-- Ronald Reagan

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Red Fridays.

Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority." We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing.

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -- and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that ... every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear
something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is
on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is ."We need your support and your prayers." Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and wear something red every Friday.

WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!!
I gave it a fair amount of thought before deciding to post it. I know that we have varied opinons on whether this country is doing the "right" thing by being in Iraq and I fully support each person's right to make that decision for themselves. Which ever way you decide, I hope you agree that our men and women who are there deserve our support.
~Keith
Reunion Association President

JSloan
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Post by JSloan » Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:00 am

Keith,
First, thanks for posting the stories and pictures. Too many times we forget to put the 'faces' on the reality of war unless it comes close to home.

As for the 'Red Fridays'...
The problem is that there are too many causes using wear red on Friday. Follow this link to Wikipedia for article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Friday

Personally I think doing something to show support is great. I plan on wearing USA, Navy, or some other appropriate shirt, hat or pin to show support with no doubt as to the cause I am supporting. As a retired serviceman, I can feel only positive and supportive feelings for those who serve...and I'll leave my other feelings silent.

God Bless America and All Americans.
--Jeff
A-Gang Blue '80-'85

Mrf1212
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Post by Mrf1212 » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:51 am

There is an old Union saying "Pray for the Dead and fight for the living." Sometimes just a smile or yellow ribbon magnet helps but many times there are other things we can do. I don't want to sound preachy and I know there are some issues with some of the veteran organizations but all-in-all often the best way to help is to find one that fits a certain comfort and commitment level and then join.

First just by joining there is usualy a greater communication infrastructure and secondly sheer membership numbers gives the organization more political clout when trying to get legislation such as better pay, benefits, equipment and armor.

I personally chose The American Legion (there are Posts not only throughout our country but also in France, England and probably a couple other countries too) Besides the sheer size of the organization some Posts offer good food at fair prices and if they serve drinks they are usually cheap. At the ones I visit the comraderie is similar to an "E"-club (I can't speak for "O" clubs but maybe some Posts are similar to them too (or maybe the Flowing Well, Brassy's or ABC--when we were all there together) Anyway, besides the fun stuff they are one of the organizations large enough and inclusive enough to help get flags at cemetaries on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, assist in a variety of outreach programs (our state is having a Care Package Drive through 19 Nov for all our state's Guard and Reservists) and at the national level is the lead Veteran organization for a new initiative Heroes to Hometowns which is housed at the Pentagon and addresses the family and service members' needs for our homecoming Seriously Injured service members. Once again it goes back to--Pray for the Dead and Fight for the Living. And there is no way I could help as effectively as just a old A-ganger with a little free time once-in-a-while.

I'm not trying to push The American Legion over other organiziations--it just works for me--and it differs Post to Post--but just remember even if its a Boy or Girl Scout putting a flag on our graves one day in the (hopefully) distant future, it will probably have had some backing or impetus from organizations like The American Legion or VFW.

I guess that's about it--Thank you Keith for your post and Jeff for your reply--I'll try to get the word our about "Red Fridays"...

...And don't forget everybody--tomorrow is our day--Veteran's Day--be proud of it !

(Sorry I edited this down the best I could)

Clark Jordan
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Post by Clark Jordan » Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:10 pm

Actually, it was Mother Jones who said "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

The story is a touching reminder to us all of the personal sacrifices made by our military and their families, regardless of our respective views on the political merit of the wars.

But, speaking of fighting like hell for the living, I have been following a troubling story on the state of VA hospitals and the care that is being given to those injured in the current wars. Does anyone know of a veterans organization that is specifically pushing for reform of this system. If the system is as broken as depicted in the media, our country is doing a great disservice to those that serve.
Clark Jordan
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RussBrentnell
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Post by RussBrentnell » Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:05 pm

Clark Jordan wrote:Actually, it was Mother Jones who said "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

The story is a touching reminder to us all of the personal sacrifices made by our military and their families, regardless of our respective views on the political merit of the wars.

But, speaking of fighting like hell for the living, I have been following a troubling story on the state of VA hospitals and the care that is being given to those injured in the current wars. Does anyone know of a veterans organization that is specifically pushing for reform of this system. If the system is as broken as depicted in the media, our country is doing a great disservice to those that serve.
I heard an interview on BBC radio about some details of this original story. I'll see if I can dig it up.....
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