The sack lunch!
I put my carry-on in the

luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned

seat. It was going to be a long flight. ‘I’m  

glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will

get a short nap,’ I thought.

Just before take-off,

a line of soldiers came down the aisle and

filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding  

me. I decided to start a conversation.

‘Where are you headed?’ I asked the soldier seated nearest to

me. ‘Petawawa. We’ll be there for two

weeks for special training, and then we’re being  

deployed to Afghanistan.

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was

made that sack lunches were available for five

dollars… It would be several hours before we  

reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch

would help pass the time…


As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if

he planned to buy lunch.  ‘No, that seems  

like a lot of money for just a sack lunch.

Probably wouldn’t be worth five bucks.

I’ll wait till we get to base.’

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the

other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked

to the back of the plane and handed the flight

attendant a fifty dollar bill.  ‘Take a

lunch to all those soldiers.’ She grabbed my  

arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with

tears, she thanked me. ‘My son was a soldier in

Iraq ; it’s almost like you are doing it for


Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the

soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and

asked, ‘Which do you like best – beef or

chicken?’ ‘Chicken,’ I replied,


wondering why she asked. She turned and went to  

the front of plane, returning a minute later

with a dinner plate from first class.
‘This is your thanks.’

After we finished

eating, I went again to the back of the plane,  

heading for the rest room.


A man stopped me. ‘I saw what you did. I want to

be part of it… Here, take this.’ He handed me

twenty-five dollars.


Soon after I returned

to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down

the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he

walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but

noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my  

side of the plane. When he got to my row he

stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, ‘I

want to shake your hand.’ Quickly unfastening my

seatbelt I stood and took the Captain’s hand.  

With a booming voice he said, ‘I was a soldier

and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought

me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never

forgot.’ I was embarrassed when applause was  

heard from all of the passengers.


Later I walked to the

front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A

man who was seated about six rows in front of me

reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He  

left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.


When we landed I

gathered my belongings and started to deplane…


Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man

who stopped me, put something in my shirt  

pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a

word. Another twenty-five dollars!


Upon entering the

terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their

trip to the base.  
I walked over to

them and handed them seventy-five dollars. ‘It

will take you some time to reach the base.

It will be about time for a sandwich.  
God Bless You.’

Ten young

men left that flight feeling the love and

respect of their fellow travelers.


As I walked briskly to

my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe

return. These soldiers were giving their all for  

our country. I could only give them a couple of

meals. It seemed so little…


A veteran is someone

who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank

check made payable to ‘The United States of

America  ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and

including my life.’


That is Honor, and

there are way too many people in this country

who no longer understand it.’ 

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