The Masterpiece by Javan

The Masterpiece by Javan

We are born into the world like a blank canvas and each person that crosses our path takes up the brush and makes his mark upon our surface - So it is that we develop - But we must realize there comes a day that we must take up the brush and finish the work. For only we can determine if we are to be just another painting or a Masterpiece.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Respect - Appreciation and Your Help

Please Help.... 
Many of you know Johna'Lee from her blog, The Scrappy Appleyard, and that her family has just suffered a tremendous loss...her daughter Tory was supposed to be married this week, but instead had to bury her soldier fiance, Chris Scott. Johna'Lee is asking for star blocks to make quilts for the family, and for Chris's best friend, who was with him when he died. Go http://thescrappyappleyard.blogspot.com/2011/09/star-block-fabric-example.html to see if you can help, and be sure to check her updates....she's posted a block with the colors. Thank you so much - and please, keep them all in your prayers!

This was on her blog - and needs to be shared.


Fallen Soldier

This Airline Pilot writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and
said, "We have an 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.

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 preflight 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', she said.  She 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 she asked me if there was anything I could
do. 'I'm on it, I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

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 the 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
copilot 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 was 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 ...

Prayer:
'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they
protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they
perform for us in our time of need. Amen.'
God Bless You  -  God Bless America

10 comments:

Janet O. said...

I have already committed to make some star blocks for this woman through another blog that posted about it. Thanks for sharing the story. I cried through the whole thing!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Thank you for posting this, Judy. This is deeply touching and heart wrenching. God bless our troops.

taylorsoutback said...

Judy - thank you for sharing all of this with us - I will definitely be joining in to participate...once you are in the military family, you are forever a part of it. My prayers go out to this family.

Grammasheri said...

My heart is hurting for the family. We need these reminders to keep our soldiers and their families in our daily prayers. I appreciate your sharing this story.

jackiero said...

My eyes are tear-filled, my heart hurting, thank you for sharing. Blessing to you. Sincerely, Jackie in NC

Nanci said...

Tearfully I write this and thank you so much for sharing.

Barb said...

This is so close to my heart since I have two military sons myself....it woujld be hard regardless....

sao said...

Thanks for sharing - what a very very sad thing to have happen!

sao in Midlothian, VA

Stitched With Prayer said...

Oh my...I'm typing this through a blur of tears. My hubby served during Vietnam and his best friend, the young man who introduced us, was engaged to my best friend. I will never forget the pain I read in my best friends face as I was summoned to her side and told she had lost her love to a snipers bullet. My hubby was getting ready to leave for Vietnam when the news came and the desperation in his voice was more than I could bear...I thought. But spending the next few days with my friend at her request always at her side, I realized that I she was the one experiencing something so hard to comprehend that all I could do was be there for her. That was 43 years ago and John'aLee's sweet Tory has touched me deeply, along with many others who have read her story. As I told John'aLee, my hubby's medal for Valor under fire is hidden away in a safe place, never even shown to his three grandsons, one of whom is now serving in the Air Force. He worked in the motor pool for a MASH unit driving an ambulance and he firmly believes that the real hero's, are those who gave their lives for our freedom. I agree with him. Thank you for this beautiful post. I too have stars getting ready to make their way to John'aLee. How could I not?

Susan said...

As an Army Vet, Army Wife and Army Mom, Thank you for posting that beautiful story. I don't think I'm going to stop crying anytime soon. It was beautiful.