But I'm going to tell you a story that will remind you what it's like to be an American. How proud we should be of our country and our countrymen. And how even in a state of war, and through negative press about almost everything, that there really is something positive to think about. That there is something 'good' going on in our world.
A little background......A long time ago there was a young man that may or may not have gotten in a little trouble and had a very tough choice. A choice to serve his country or be a ward of his country. The young man wasn't a bad young man, just bored in a small town and had lots of time to get into mischief. The young man had/has a good heart and was/is a good person. And he was smart. Smart enough to know that joining our military was really the only 'option', even if it was just the Reserves, and even if it was very shortly after the tragedy on 9/11 and in the midst of a war. He may have joined a little reluctant, but through years of service he began to enjoy his 'job' and the people he worked and served with.
The young man's Reserve occupation ended up turning into a full time position. Exciting him that he could provide security for his new bride, young daughter, and infant son. And exciting him because he really loved what he does.
Though the years of service he was fortunate it enough to never have to deploy to war torn countries. He took small one month or 3 month trips to Guam and Germany. But never had to step foot where bombs actively killed American soldiers every day.
Until 3 months ago.
When he volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan for 3 months.
He would have to leave his bride whom he hadn't even been married to for 2 years. He had to leave his 9 year old daughter. And he had to leave his son, who just turned 1. All whom he loved more than life itself.
He had to fly to a desert where the walls around the fort were so thick and tall all you could see was concrete. Where there was little water, sweltering heat, and huge tents to 'live' in with many other soldiers, all crammed in there like sardines. There were bombs that went off and soldiers who died. Pretty much the scariest place on earth.
The months were long. So long. Not only for his family, but especially for him.
But after 90ish long days, he was scheduled to come home.
Now this is the part that will make you proud to be an American. And it's going to make you cry. So prepare yourself.
The soldier's mother and her boyfriend were charged with driving his wife, daughter and son to the airport to greet him when he got off the plane. He was to get in at 4:30pm, so he instructed his wife to pull his daughter from school. The daughter made a big sign that said 'Welcome Home Dad!' Nothing was more exciting to her than to hold that sign so it was the first thing he saw when he got off the plane.
Unfortunately.......Grandma forgot the sign on the kitchen counter and didn't realize it until they had already drove 2 hours to the airport. The daughter was devastated. Grandma promised to find paper, tape and markers at the airport and try to re-create the sign. She looked everywhere. No shops sold anything or had anything that would make a good sign. Finally Grandma asked a security guard if he had anything. He replied that he didn't but suggested that she go to the flight's ticket counter and ask them.
The soldier was flying in on Delta and while Grandma was very reluctant to ask someone from the Delta ticket counter, she did anyway, knowing that the daughter really, really wanted a welcome sign for her dad.
So Grandma and the daughter went up to the counter and asked a very nice lady, named Kim, if she could help. She replied that she thought she could come up with something and excused herself to the back, telling them to wait right there.
Kim came back with four sheets of printer paper, tape and markers and proceeded to sit down on the floor, using the baggage scale as a table, and helped the daughter re-create her sign. They colored for awhile, making customers go to other Delta employees to check their baggage, keeping the lines a little bit longer. But Kim didn't care. She continued to help the daughter.
After the sign was complete, Kim got on her computer and got a security pass for the 9 year old daughter and proceeded to help her through security and escorted her to the gate where her Dad's plan would come in. Kim waited with the daughter for 30 minutes for the plane to arrive. Sitting and talking with the daughter, showing her and telling her all about the airplanes and the workings of an airport.
Finally the plane arrived.
Her Dad was home.
Kim stood with the daughter right in front of the door where all the passengers got off. Slowly but surely, patrons started to file out. Seeing the young girl and her sign, most everyone that exited the plane, stood by waiting to see who the lucky person was that deserved the beautiful sign and wonderful welcome home. A crowd started to gather and more and more people not only from the plane, but others waiting began stand around the door and the daughter.
Finally, her Dad emerged. The daughter ran into his arms and he picked her up and hugged her with all the love he possessed. The crowd clapped and cheered. And I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the terminal.
The soldier walked out of the gate with his daughter in his arms and his wife, son, mother, and boyfriend greeted him with big smiles, plenty of kisses and huge hugs.
He was home. He was safe.
It gets better.
Obviously the soldier was starving from his long trek across the world so the big family stopped off at a close fast food restaurant to get something to eat. While the soldier was ordering for himself and family, a man dressed in simple jeans and shirt, looking like a truck driver, came up the soldier's mother's boyfriend and handed him $5. He told the boyfriend to thank the soldier for his service and that he'd like to buy his dinner for the evening. That $5 may not seem like a lot, but I think to that gentlemen it was. But he gladly gave it up to show support.
My brother, Michael, made it safely to his home and slept in his own bed for the first time in months. He'll probably hate me when he finds out I wrote this. But I don't care.
People.....YOU......need to know that the world isn't always so negative. That there are good people out there. The Delta employee, Kim, didn't have to get paper. She didn't even have to take probably an hour out of her day to help a young girl. But she did. The truck driver didn't have to spend money he probably couldn't afford to spend on a meal for my brother, but he did. He didn't have to thank my brother, but he did.
This story makes me proud to be an American. Makes me proud of my countrymen. Makes me proud of my brother. And makes me proud of my family.
I hope it makes you proud too.
|Waiting for Michael to get home. 'Grandma' Julie, Michael's son Kyron, and his wife Jennifer.|
|Michael getting off the plane and being welcomed by his daughter, Trinity. Sign in hand.|
|First kiss in 3 months.|