Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine
sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two
After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd been invited
to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading
No, he responded.
Heading out I asked?
No. I'm escorting a soldier home.
Going to pick him up?
No, he is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq , I'm taking him home
to his family.
The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the
gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the
soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier's family
and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days.
I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, "Thank you, Thank you for
doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do".
Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the
following announcement over the intercom.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of
having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this
flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask
that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to
allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will
then turn off the seat belt sign."
Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting
the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize
that I am proud to be an American.
So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do
so we can live the way we do.