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Tamil Software
அழகி மென்பொருள்
   
Tamil-English bilingual webmagazine dedicated to education of the masses through E-books, articles, worldwide informations, Slideshows, Presentations on various subjects, photographs and images, moral and objective oriented stories and Lectures including audio and video

A great, moving true story worth a read

Courtesy: S.S. Mani, Kalakad

THIS IS WORTH READING:

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 agood book to read and 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 starta 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 toall 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 yours with 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 myseat, I saw the Aircraft Pilot 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 wasa military pilot... Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act ofkindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heardfrom 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 infront of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He leftanother twenty-five dollars in my palm. When we landed I gathered my belongings and started todeplane.

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 fortheir safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for ourcountry. 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 ablank check made payable to his country for an amount of 'up to and including my life. 'That is Honor, and there are way too many people who no longer understand it.

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