A few days ago, my daughter and I were flying with her two children. Diaper changes, hungry babies, a misprinted gate assignment, and all the other confusion associated with traveling with an infant and a toddler made us arrive at our gate after the plane had been loaded. We raced down the gangway and the children, sensing our stress, began to wail, leaving us entering the plane in panicked disarray.
We knew 1/3 of the plane's seats were open, but the passengers had spread out leaving no obvious place where my daughter and I could sit together so we could each access the babies' bag and where both children were in reach of mommy. I kept urging Brady, a 21-month-old toddler, to keep moving to the back while I jostled screaming, 3-month-old Avery in the other arm while my daughter followed behind after gate-checking the stroller and car seat.
People avoided meeting our eyes. Worse, as we moved to the back we heard churlish remarks like, "Yeah . . keep moving. We don't want that crying baby near us." My daughter was hurt and angry and we kept moving back, looking to the plane's steward for some help.
A handsome, athletic-looking man sat alone, staring out the window, in the next to the last row on the plane. He appeared to be the last person on earth who wanted two women with children to sit in his row, but as he became aware of our dilemma he stood and moved to another seat so Amanda and I could be together with the kids.
He was our angel, and as soon as were were settled and calm the children calmed as well. In fact, people complimented us on the children's perfect behavior. We owed it all to this sweet man.
While waiting for the luggage a woman approached me. The man had moved forward and ended up sitting with her. As the two chatted, she discovered a few things she thought we would like to know about our knight in shining armor.
He was a Marine on his way to Afghanistan. His contemplative nature now made sense. He had likely just said goodbye to his family, among whom was a daughter who would graduate from high school two weeks after his expected return. He would miss her last Christmas home, her senior prom,and numerous events with his other children, while he protected us and upheld liberty in a faraway place.
I'm sure he wanted that time to be alone and think about those he was leaving behind, but he put his wants aside for us. It was so typical of what these military giants do everyday.
I walked up to him and offered my hand, thanking him for saving us that day. I told him I knew where he was headed, and promised I would pray for him and his family while he was away. It was the very least I could do for someone so selfless.
Today, I was looking at video tributes to soldiers. I came across this one and one of the comments beneath it was from a Master Sergeant. What he wrote really touched me:
I AM A MsSGT OF THE US MARINE CORPS AND I AM SO PROUD OF YOU PEOPLE THAT STILL BELIEVE IN US!!! I TRAIN MY GUYS NOT TO BE SCARED OF NOTHING AND THEY ARE NOT!!! I STAND FOR THIS COUNTRY FOR WHAT WE ARE AND WHAT WE HAVE AND I PROMISE TO ALL OF YOU WHO READS THIS, I WILL PROTECT YOU AND MY SOLDIERS WILL PROTECT OUR COUNTRY!!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! i dont get on here much but if anyone wants to email me my id is: email@example.com i would like your opinion an or pic WE LOVE YOU USA!!!!
Some of these guys have little or no support at home. Send this sergeant a note. I'm sure he'll forward them on to other soldiers as well. And thanks to every soldier and sailor out there. We love you!