Honoring the Veteran

Editor’s Note:Author of this is unknown. It was forwarded to me by a veteran. A retired Squadron Leader of the Pak Air Force. It bought a lump to my throat. Unfortunately, we in our country have forgotten to award respect where respect is due. There is a lesson to be learnt here. Are we willing to learn it? 

Posted by Moderator of the Blog

This is decency, full circle.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 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 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 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 my seat, 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, an said, ‘I want to shake your hand.’
Quickly unfastening my seat belt 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 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.

 

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Rizwan  On April 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Would we have done the same in our country?

    Sent from my Nokia phone

  • Ali Kuli Khan  On April 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

    What a beautiful and touching Article ! It was for such respect and love that most of us joined the Armed Forces, as indeed did all our Shaheeds including those of Siachen: Aye ! ‘Upto and including my life’. Madame Moderator, we know you understand because you are a soldier’s wife and Daughter-in-Law; please accept a very warm “Thank You” from all of us. Such feelings also reassure us that Pakistanis are once again beginning to understand HONOUR and as such there is hope for our beloved Pakistan.

    Ali Kuli Khan

  • Shahbaz  On April 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

    YAA
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful Video. This damn Glacier and the DUMB leaders,who have not even bothered to make a trip to skardu what to talk of Gyiari??

    Who brought them to power??

    regards

    Muhammad Shahbaz Thuthaal

  • Ata  On April 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Thanks Yasmeen. As long as we too have patriotic and nationalist people in our beloved country we shall be a great nation. But we have so many disruptors who sow doubts about our nation. I just got this from an officer of Pakistan Army..see his sentiments..
    Another day from siachin: the soldiers are yet to be found. Probably there will be no survivors. But who cares if a soldier dies or lives or is maimed; they are paid to die. Today Asma Jahangir is worried about the defence budget,Hamid Mir is not happy with ISI, Kashif Abbasi is angry why a soldier deserves a plot, Najam Sethi is a American stooge. There are few others equally noteworthy in the harm they are doing to our country and roam the country freely disinforming the people of Pakistan..is anyone worried or cares if a soldier dies..don’t they have a family, parents or emotions? They are not supposed to reply to many criticisms shown on various TV shows where all that is done is talk talk and talk..all talking crap..Soldiers in Siachin were not born there, they don’t have personal enemity with India..they are there for u and me and for our beloved motherland..but who cares if a soldier dies.
    Strong emotions sent by a Pakistani Army soldier…
    Warm regards
    Ata
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  • Najma  On April 15, 2012 at 10:28 am

    That was heartwarming. I recommend you send this to PIA (with the offending news item appended as well)..
    – Najma

    • Raana Zubairi  On April 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Thanks for sharing this Excellent Event.
      All of us should ponder upon this and try
      to do whatevr they can Not only for the
      soldiers but for ALL Who are in Need .

  • SJ Mir  On April 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    To unerstand this…u have to be there………. Armanis Guccis an Loius Vuittons wont help u realise what it is to be defender of ur motherland !!!!and how several yearn to die for it,at some point in their lives !!!!

  • Shahbaz  On April 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    YAA

    AOA

    Gen ALIKULI KHAN understands the problems of siachin because he had served as COS 10 corps and later as Comd 10Corps,( Gen Kiani Was his COS).

    He later as CGS detaied his own unit 12 Baloch for Siachin duty.His own son was on one of the POSTs. I know because my son also did the Attachment with his unit at Siachin then.Many of the Gen officers kept their sons as ADC,during such difficult days.

    regards

  • Khan Zia  On April 16, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Thanks. Great story from Canada.

  • Faisal Imam  On April 16, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Why has the uniform lost respect?
    it is for the uniform to figure out.
    i hope it is obvious.

  • Yasmeen Ali  On April 16, 2012 at 3:18 am

    A lot of it has to do with the media projection.
    Media is a sold commodity.
    Why do certain elements want to demean the uniform?
    Thats for us to figure out!
    YAA

  • Shaheen  On April 16, 2012 at 3:19 am

    Thank goodness our Politicians ( without any uniform ) are above board !

  • Zubair  On April 16, 2012 at 11:29 am

    YAA
    I thank you for the touching story. Of all the people in the world, you should know what the soldiers really are and what they do and why???? POLITICIANS ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE THE SAME AS OURS. I do wish our president or the Crown Prince would visit an army unit—if they can get out of their fortresses.
    Zubair

  • Bisma  On April 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    We true ppl of pakistan care n r proud n pray for thm coz we knw we r becoz of our brave brotherz!
    N i pray tht those traitors n politicians go to hell n b hanged for talking nonsense abt our brothers!
    Pakistan Zindabad Pakistan army paindabad!ALLAH bless pakistan n our army brothers n all forces brothers!ameen sum ameen
    n remember our brothers in our prayers forevr

  • Zareef Khan Achakzai  On May 16, 2012 at 5:29 am

    I like our Solider i proud to be our Military Pak Foaj Zindaabad…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: