Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Moment of Silence

Usually we stop and think about veterans on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day but this week on a work trip to D.C. I was moved by something that happened on my flight. 

The flight was boarding as usual and once I was seated and situated I looked out of the window to see a soldier holding a POW flag standing out on the tarmac.  Beside him was a white military carriage with a flag on top and the emblems of all of the branches of service. 

As one of the flight attendants passed by I stopped her and asked why there was a soldier on the tarmac and she confirmed that we were transporting the remains of a soldier. 

Nothing was mentioned as the flight attendants hustled about trying to get passengers seated and carry-on items placed in the overhead storage.  I was bothered that something deserving respect or a moment of quiet reflection was taking place and yet no one seemed to stop to notice. 

The flight took off and it was a normal flight until we landed.  Just after we touched down the pilot made an announcement, naming the soldier and letting us know that we were in fact delivering the fallen to his final resting place.  He went on to announce the name and rank of the Marine who was on board with us accompanying the body.  We were asked to remain seated once we arrived at our gate to allow the Marine to exit the plane first.  You could've heard a pin drop.  No one rushed, and in fact, no one moved.  Quietly and solemnly the Marine, holding his hat, made the walk to the front of the aircraft and off the plane.

Even when he was out of sight, no one moved for a matter of seconds.  Then someone began clapping and suddenly the plane was full of sound and emotion as all of us clapped for the fallen. No one was sure what to do but for a few minutes, a plane full of very busy people who were all in a hurry stopped to pay tribute to someone who gave his life for our country. 


  1. Gosh that made me cry. I admit I haven't thought about that in a long time. Thank you for writing about this. Thank you and thank all our men and women. sandie

  2. Cheryl, your words brought tears to my eyes. I was a young adult during the Vietnam War and remember the thousands of POW and MIA soldiers. We wore wrist bands to honor them. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment. ~ Sarah

  3. This gave me the shivers. It's good to know that on this continent, where war and strife are so very far away, that people haven't forgotten the people who put themselves in harm's way for all of us.

  4. What a moving story, Cheryl! Thanks for sharing it. We are so grateful to those brave souls who choose to protect us and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Hugs...Debbie

  5. Cheryl what an amazing story! I am so glad that the respect was given as it should be to our fallen soldiers. I was a young adult during the Vietnam war and also wore a bracelet for Pow/Mia soldiers! God Bless all our military!

  6. Very moving it was for me to read this. It was evident that others felt the honor and respect, as well. God bless our military who serve and protect and bless the family who was waiting for their loved one.

  7. Jojo this is so heartfelt a post; to honor one who serve our country in this way.
    Usually it is all jostling to get to the front of the plane. Teaches us all a bit of common courtesy and respect.

    Art by Karena

  8. Truly, you were meant to be on that flight and to share such an inspiring tribute. I hope that the message is conveyed to many that those who lead, who fight for our freedom deserve honor and glory. My son is an ROTC in training and I cannot even begin to tell you how enthralled he is with our country, and to serve is such an honor. Everyday, I give thanks that those that serve are there for a reason, because they want to, because they feel the need to lead our nation to peace.
    I hope your post is seen by his family and friends. They would be proud.

  9. This was beautiful.

    It restores my faith in humanity.

    Absolutely heart warming.

    Thank you and bless you for sharing this.

  10. This was so moving, JoJo...It made me cry. There is something so truly wonderful about the fact that each fallen member of any one of the Armed Services is escorted and accompanied home by a member of that particular Armed Service. It must be a very difficult thing to do, but also so very rewarding, knowing you are responsible for caring for this body---this person, who has given his or her life to protect our country---to see him or her to their final destination and resting place---back to their family. We hear almost nothing about this, do we.
    There was that HBO film with Kevin Bacon which detailed one of these sad but inspiring journeys. It was very very moving. But other than that, we hear nothing about this special and important last trip. It must have been very moving to be a passanger on that plane---to be part of that last trip even in such a small way. It is rather awesome and, yes, so very moving.

  11. What a touching story..thank you for sharing. We must remember these brave men and women!