A Better Version of Me
Friday, September 22, 2006
Leavin' On A Jet Plane
Something I'll never forget took place on my flight home from Minnesota this morning. Two marines were on the flight, making their way home from Iraq. Sadly, one of them flew back to KC in the cargo hold.

I wondered what was up when I arrived at the gate and saw a sharply-dressed marine sitting nearby. Then I noticed the triangularly-folded American flag resting in his lap. Even then, I thought he might just be delivering the flag to a soldier's family. Little did I know that his fallen comrade was making the flight with him.

As we taxied toward the runway, the captain came over the speaker and announced that we had two special guests on board, both marines and brothers. Then he broke the news that only one of them was in the passenger cabin. Wow. That made for the most awkward, somber flight I've ever experienced.

When we pulled up to the gate in KC, there was a hearse, several marines and a police motorcade waiting on the tarmac to recieve the body. We were asked to stay seated while they unloaded the casket and carried it on to the hearse. I watched the whole thing take place from my window. I was speechless and fighting back tears and it was all I could do to restrain myself from knocking some sense into the guy next to me who spent most of this time on his cell phone.

Some situations call for a certain amount of respect. Yes, there are times when you can delay that phone call for ten minutes. I guess some people just don't get it.


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