NirvanaPeace

Peace, Love, Joy, and Imagination…

The Sack Lunches and Honor

I thought this was a nice story and wanted to pass it along.

The 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 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 ‘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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March 9, 2009 Posted by | Heros | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abraham Lincoln Memorial

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The Lincoln Memorial is a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln and the nation he fought to preserve during the Civil War (1861-1865). “In this Temple, as in the hearts of the people, for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever”. These words, carved high above the massive Lincoln memorial statue, reveal the sacred nature of an otherwise secular national memorial. Forever a symbol of unity and social justice, the Lincoln Memorial inspires millions of Washington DC sightseeing visitors each year.

The Abraham Lincoln Memorial, standing at the west end of the National Mall, is a neoclassical monument built to resemble a Greek temple. It has 36 Doric columns, one for each state at the time of Lincoln’s death. A sculpture by Daniel Chester French of a seated Lincoln commands the center of the memorial chamber. From his perch, Lincoln appears to be looking over the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument, a setting of intense visual power. So moving, as a symbol of freedom, that this shrine was also the setting of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

The Abraham Lincoln Memorial is perhaps the most deeply moving American icon celebrating democratic ideals in the world. It glorifies the colossal achievements that have kept the nation together for over two centuries. Inscribed in enormous letters on the south wall of the monument is the thought-provoking Gettysburg Address. Over that stretches a mural showing a slave being liberated by the angel of truth. This is one of two Jules Guerin paintings that grace the memorial. The other has North-South unity as its theme.

Modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial aspires to remind us of the tremendous ancient Greeks, the first modern culture to practice a form of democratic government. In addition, it serves as a national Civil War memorial, recalling the horrific violence and destruction the conflict reeked on the land and a whole American generation. The lessons it taught about our government, in its ability to weather a civil war and re-emerge a unified and improved democracy, have made the history Lincoln Memorial represents so important. The Memorial itself has become a dignified symbol of that democracy.

According to history, Lincoln Memorial planners originally intended the statue to be only ten feet high, but this was changed so the figure of Lincoln would not be dwarfed by the size of the chamber. A commission to plan a monument was first proposed in 1867, shortly after Lincoln’s death. The original concept was to build 37 enormous statues of horses and people, with a central 12-foot Lincoln memorial statue. That project was never started for lack of funds. Congress approved the bill to construct this memorial in 1910. Construction began in 1914, and the memorial was opened to the public in 1922.

Damaged over the years by heavy Washington DC sightseeing and environmental factors, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial is currently undergoing a major restoration. This project includes roadway improvements, better lighting, new visitor facilities and a permanent vehicle barrier system to protect visitors and the memorial. The roadway improvements are expected to be completed by the summer of 2006, and construction of the new visitors center is expected to continue throughout 2006.

The Lincoln Memorial can be enjoyed during the day, of course, but is often quite crowded. Most visitors to Washington DC, as well as DC residents, agree that the best time to enjoy the tranquility and sacred ambience of this beautiful memorial space is by night.

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Heros | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roy Benavidez…Soldier Extraordinaire

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Benavidez

On May 2, 1968, in an outpost near the Cambodian border, Sergeant Benavidez listened to his short-wave radio as the voice of a terrified American, part of a 12-man patrol that had been completely surrounded by a North Vietnamese battalion, pleaded to be rescued. Armed with only a knife, Benavidez immediately jumped into a helicopter and took off with a three man crew to rescue his trapped comrades.

When they arrived at the fighting, the enemy was too numerous for the helicopter to immediately evacuate the surrounded soldiers. It had to land seventy-five yards away from their position. After making the sign of the cross, Sergeant Benavidez jumped out of the helicopter as it hovered ten feet above the ground, and began to run toward his comrades carrying his knife and a medic bag.

He was shot almost immediately, but he got up and kept moving. An exploding grenade knocked him down again, shrapnel tearing into his face. He got up and kept moving. Reaching the Americans’ position, he found four men dead, and all the others badly wounded. He armed himself with an enemy rifle, and began to treat the wounded, distribute ammunition and call in air strikes. He was shot again. He then ordered the helicopter to come in closer as he dragged the dead and wounded aboard. After he got all of the wounded aboard, he ran back to retrieve classified documents from the body of a fallen soldier. He was shot in the stomach, and grenade fragments cut into his back. He got up and kept moving, and he made it back to the helicopter.

But the pilot was shot and the helicopter crashed. Benavidez pulled the wounded from the wreckage and radioed for air strikes and another helicopter. He kept fighting until air support arrived. He was shot several more times before a second helicopter landed. As he was carrying a wounded man toward it, a North Vietnamese soldier clubbed him with his rifle and stabbed him with a bayonet. Sergeant Benavidez fought him to death, hand to hand. After rescuing three more of his comrades, he was
finally flown with them to safety.

Bleeding profusely, his intestines spilling from his stomach wounds, and completely immobile, a doctor thought him to be dead. Roy was placed in a body bag, before the doctor discovered he was still alive (when Roy Benavidez spat on his face).

Miraculously, he survived, but spent a year in hospitals recovering from seven serious gunshot wounds, twenty-eight shrapnel wounds, and bayonet wounds in both arms.

http://www.medalofhonor.com/

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Heros | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment