Wednesday, August 05, 2009
I just got this in an email. So many lives are given daily for our Freedom.
So many have made the sacrifices for us.. We can never forget to honor them all.
Sharing this email:
AN Airline Captain Who Cared:
My lead flight attendant came to me and said, 'We have H.R. on this flight'. H.R. stands for human remains.
'Are they military' I asked. 'Yes', she said. 'Is there an escort' I asked.
'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.
'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck You can board him early', I said.
A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.
'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ', he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words on his own. I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen Soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.
We completed our pre flight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', he said.
He then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia . The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear.
He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when he asked me if there was anything I could do.
'I'm on it', I said. I told him that I would get back to him.
Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.
Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and this following is the text:
'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp.
It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in Flight Control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'
I sent a message back telling Flight Control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.' Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing.
After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.
'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the co pilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'
I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect His name is private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold.
Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'
We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see.
I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft. When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft were clapping.
Words of 'God Bless You', 'I'm sorry', 'thank you', 'be proud', and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.
Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.
I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of America .
Remember our Troops in Prayers, Daily.
For all who exalt themselves will be humbled,
but all who humble themselves will be exalted.
Thank You Former President Bill Clinton for stepping up and bringing Laura Ling, Euna Lee home from North Korea
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Thought this was a great way to start off a new month of who knows what we will each be facing. JLH is really an inspiration for me daily. Hope You enjoy it too.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
- William Shakespeare
If Bill were around today, I think he would appreciate hearing the flight attendant say, "Put on your own oxygen mask first." Before any of us can be of service to others, or provide valuable council, we must empower our own lives. Only as happy, fully self-expressed individuals who set an example of living a great life, can we presume to suggest to others how they might improve the quality of their own lives. We are most powerful when we set an example.
Consider a parent who says, "Look at the sacrifices I'm making so you can have a better life." Contrast that with another parent who demonstrates living a great life every day. Self-sacrifice is not a virtue. Living a great life and sharing that life with others is the noble way to live.
Here are 5 ways to make a difference in the world by being true to yourself:
1. Set an example for your children and others. Live a life you hope your children will emulate.
2. Aspire to a successful career. You can't contribute money or material goods to any worthwhile cause if you don't have any. You best set an example by being successful AND generous.
3. Generate your own happiness and radiate that happiness into the world. People enjoy being around happy people, and they become happy themselves as a result.
4. Set boundaries. When you reach the limit of what you can contribute while still maintaining your inner peace and serenity, say NO to additional requests for your time and energy. Whenever you let urgency compromise your happiness, you lose your ability to set an example by leading a great life - as well as losing your own happiness.
5. Think for yourself - don't blindly follow tradition or the conventions of your family, community, or religion. Making your own choices gives you the opportunity to live a life you love, and to set an example of open-minded thinking and compassion.
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
(close as I am going to get to M&M)
Friday, July 31, 2009
Last Night, DH and I needed to laugh so we watched Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories. They played Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.. and It really hit home.
We all are on a Journey of some kind ..be it SP for weight, Healthy Lives.. fighting a disease., Needing Motivation, Needing comfort in knowing we are not alone.
No matter what is thrown at us.. What do we all have???? One Phrase that can make everyday possible Because .. We Don't Stop Believing..
No matter what is thrown at us.. we just don't stop.
A lot of us have a very strong Faith in God and there again.. We don't Stop Believing...
No matter what we cannot give up.
AnyBody remember the '69 NY Mets??? Tug McGraw.. You Gotta Believe.. And they did and Won..
Even when we slip, fall, binge, graze, fall off the wagon.. we Got to Believe we can succeed on this Journey of Life we are on.
We are all on the same road... Wave when you see me... I'll be waving at you
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and
contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food.
Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake
a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that
aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.
The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing
me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I
fall faster than you can run..
I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry
about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to
ensure your comfort. However, dogs and cats can actually curl up in a
ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to
each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know
that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the
other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.
For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by
some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is
not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your
paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through
the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for
years - canine/feline attendance is not required.
The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the
other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.
Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message
on the front door:
TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT AND LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS:
(1) They live here. You don't.
(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the
furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.
(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters
who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly...
Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they
(1) eat less
(2) don't ask for money all the time
(3) are easier to train
(4) normally come when called
(5) never ask to drive the car
(6) don't hang out with drug-using people
(7) don't smoke or drink
(8) don't want to wear your clothes
(9) don't have to buy the latest fashions
(10) don't need a gazillion dollars for college
(11) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children .
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