Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Different Perspective On Life..

I returned from Coronado CA today and to say it was an odysseey was an understatement. We woke up at 345am…out the door of the Hotel Del Coronado by 415am…filled a rental car with gas, returned the car and checked in for our 635am departure to Phoenix where we were SUPPOSE to connect to Orlando. We boarded the flight, they closed the door…and we didn’t move. For 45 minutes, we sat at the gate as they analysed a mechanical problem. After almost an hour, they determined that we were not flying on this aircraft and they had to reschedule EVERYONE for their connections.

To make a very long and frustrating story short, we spent 5 hours in the San Diego Airport waiting for a flight to Philadelphia that connected to Orlando getting us in at 1130pm instead of our 400pm arrival.

I was NOT HAPPY. I won’t lie. I was mad! This aircraft had sat in San Diego all night but they didn’t determine the problem until they had everyone aboard. Being the wife of a pilot makes me a little armed and dangerous with information. I KNOW that the Captain was suppose to do a post flight check of the aircraft before shutting it down for the night. This one person affected the lives of so many people by just not doing his/her job.

As I grumbled and got on my Philly flight, a female Naval Officer was boarding with me. She had her full dress Navy uniform in a clear hanging bag. I could see the rows upon rows of medals and commendations that graced its jacket . “Wow!!” I said. “That’s a lot of fruit salad on your uniform chest there”. In case you aren’t up on the military lingo, “fruit salad” refers to LOTS of medals on a uniform. She smiled but I could tell she wasn’t happy. At first I thought thats she was being deployed and leaving her family, but I would find out I was wrong.

“Im going to perform a function that I have never had to do in my 21 years in the Navy” she said to me looking at the floor and holding back the tears as we made our move forward towards the aircraft door. "I have to go pick up a fallen hero in Dover DE tonight. “ she said with a shaking voice. “I hope I don’t keep his family waiting”.

We made two more steps forward and I couldn’t help it. I reached out and patted her on the back. “You are a credit to your country…what's your name?” I asked. She told me her name was Wendy and she was escorting her best friend since high school home to his family in San Diego. She told me they had dated in High School but ended up being better friends than anything romantic. His family had requested she be the official escort. You could see in her eyes the pain and anguish of losing this very special person in her life…. All in the call to duty to his country. Now she was doing her part to serve her country as well as she brought home this fallen hero. He was coming home to San Diego.

I told Wendy I would pray for her…and for the family of this special man. As I sat on the plane, it made me realize that, if it were not for this man’s sacrifice, I wouldn’t have the freedom to go from coast to coast in this country. I wouldn’t have the peace of falling asleep every night knowing that I am safe. He was on watch for all of us…and he made the ultimate sacrifice so we could be one free nation.

So even though I was very unhappy about this long drawn out day, God puts things in the path of our lives for a reason. Wendy and her dear friend were put in my life to make me appreciate the liberties that God has given to all of us.

You get a different view of the world when you are in a military town and we are at war. The rest of the nation is talking about the economy while the families of military men are talking about bringing their sons and daughters home alive and well. Attending the Super Frog and Super Seal Triathlon this weekend (see my next entry for information about the race) gave me a whole new view of what our nation is facing .

If you see a military person in your travels…thank them. They are giving up time with their families to keep watch over yours.


Elizabeth the Marathon Girl said...

Amazing story. Thanks for resetting the perspective I have as well.

DLDancer said...

What a story! It brought tears to my eyes.