Below you will find previously submitted letters and tributes to the men and women who are currently serving our country and protecting our freedom. If you have some words of kindness or artwork to contribute you may do so by clicking here. All submissions are posted in the order they are recieved. Only positive up lifting comments will be used.
I would like to say thank you to all of the brave U.S. Servicemen and women who are putting themselves in harms way on a daily basis in Iraq and around the world. Your courage and deternmination is a debt which can never be repaid. We love you, miss you everyday and pray for your safe return. Please fight the good fight and come home soon.
I sat in my seat of the Boeing 767 waiting for
everyone to hurry and stow their carry-ons and grab a
seat so we could start what I was sure to be a long,
uneventful flight home.
With the huge capacity and slow moving people taking
their time to stuff luggage far too big for the
overhead and never paying much attention to holding up
the growing line behind them, I simply shook my head
knowing that this flight was not starting out very
well. I was anxious to get home to see my loved ones
so I was focused on my issues and just felt like
standing up and yelling for some of these clowns to
get their act together.
I knew I couldn't say a word so I just thumbed thru
the "Sky Mall" magazine from the seat pocket in front
You know it's really getting rough when you resort to
the over priced, useless sky mall mag to break the
With everyone finally seated, we just sat there with
the cabin door open and no one in any hurry to get us
going although we were well past the scheduled take
No wonder the airline industry is in trouble I told
myself. Just then, the attendant came on the intercom
to inform us all that we were being delayed. The
entire plane let out a collective groan. She resumed
speaking to say "We are holding the aircraft for some
very special people who are on their way to the plane
and the delay shouldn't be more than 5 minutes".
The word came after waiting six times as long as we
were promised that I was finally going to be on my way
home. Why the hoopla over "these" folks? I was
expecting some celebrity or sport figure to be the
reason for the hold up ... Just get their butts in a
seat and let's hit the gas I thought.
The attendant came back on the speaker to announce in
a loud and excited voice that we were being joined by
several U.S. Marines returning home from Iraq!!! Just
as they walked on board, the entire plane erupted into
applause. The men were a bit taken by surprise by the
340 people cheering for them as they searched for
their seats. They were having their hands shook and
touched by almost everyone who was within an arm's
distance of them as they passed down the aisle. One
elderly woman kissed the hand of one of the Marines as
he passed by her.
The applause, whistles and cheering didn't stop for a
When we were finally airborne, I was not the only
civilian checking his conscience as to the delays in "me" getting home, finding my easy chair, a cold
beverage and the remote in my hand.
These men had done for all of us and I had been
complaining silently about "me" and "my" issues I took
for granted: the everyday freedoms I enjoy and the
conveniences of the American way of life.
I took for granted that others had paid the price for
my ability to moan and complain about a few minutes
delay to "me" while those Heroes were going home to
their loved ones.
I attempted to get my selfish outlook back in order
and minutes before we landed, I suggested to the
attendant that she announce over the speaker a request
for everyone to remain in their seats until our heroes
were allowed to gather their things and be first off
The cheers and applause continued until the last
Marine stepped off and we all rose to go about our too
often taken for granted everyday freedoms.
I felt proud of them.
I felt it an honor and a privilege to be among the
first to welcome them home and say "Thank You for a
job well done."
I vowed that I will never forget that flight nor the
lesson learned. I can't say it enough, THANK YOU to
those Veteran sand active servicemen and women who may
read this and a prayer for those who cannot because
they are no longer with us.
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 together. 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 home.
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.
Below is a great video tribute from Anheuser Busch and it represents the way we should treat these men and women when they come into our presence. With the respect and reverence they deserve. Click the play button to view it. If you cannot see the video click here to download it.
Here are two very very touching photos honored as this year'sInternational Picture of the Year.
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac.
During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at DenverInternationalAirport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: "See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "Theywill remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."
I would just like to say thank you to all of those who are sacrificing overseas and all of those who are sacrificing at home for their loved ones overseas. I hope more than anything that you may be together again soon.