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Best Email of The Year

I sat in my seat of the Boeing 767 waiting foreveryone to hurry and stow their carry-ons and graba seat so we could start what I was sure to be along, uneventful flight home.

With the huge capacity and slow moving peopletaking their time to stuff luggage far too big forthe overhead and never paying much attention to holding up the growing line behind them, I simplyshook my head knowing that this flight was notstarting out very well. I was anxious to get home tosee my loved ones so I was focused on my issues andjust felt like standing up and yelling for some ofthese clowns to get their act together.

I knew I couldn't say a word so I just thumbedthru the "Sky Mall" magazine from the seat pocket in front of me.You know it's really getting rough when ! Youresort to the over priced, useless sky mall crap tobreak the monotony.

With everyone finally seated, we just satthere with the cabin door open and no one in anyhurry to get us going although we were well past the scheduled take off time.

No wonder the airline industry is in trouble Itold myself. Just then, the attendant came on the intercomto inform us all that we were being delayed.The entire plane let out a collective groan. She resumed speaking to say "We are holdingthe aircraft for some very special people who are ontheir way to the plane and the delaycouldn't bemore than 5 minutes.The! word came after waiting six times as longas we were promised that I was finally going to beon my way home.

Why the hoopla over "these" folks? I was expecting some celebrity or sport figureto be the reason for the hold up.Just get their butts in a seat and let's hitthe gas I thought.

The attendant came back on the speaker toannounce in a loud and excited voice that we werebeing joined by several Canadian SoldiersreturninghomefromAfghanistan !!!

Just as they walked on board, the entire planeerupted into applause.The men were a bit taken by surprise by the340 people cheering for them as they searched fortheir seats. They were having their hands shook and touchedby almost everyone who was within an arm's distanceof them as they passed down the aisle. One elderlywoman kissed the hand of one of the Soldiers as hepassed by her. The applause, whistles and cheering didn'tstop for a long time.When we were finally airborne, I was not the

only civilian checking his conscience as to thedelays 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 hadbeen complaining silently about "me" and "my" issuesI took for granted the everyday freedoms I enjoy andthe conveniences of the Canadian way of life.I took for granted that others had paid theprice for my ability to moan and complain about afew minutes delay to "me" while those Heroes weregoing home to their loved ones.

I attempted to get my selfish outlook back inorder and minutes before we landed,

I suggested tothe attendantthatshe announceover the speaker arequest foreveryone to remain in their seats untilour heroes were allowedto gather their things and be first off the plane.The cheers and applause continued until thelast soldier stepped off and we a ll rose to go aboutour too often taken for granted everyday freedoms.I felt proud of them.I felt it an honor and a privilege to be amongthe first to welcome them home and say "Thank Youfor a job well done."

I vowed that I will never forget that flightnor the lesson learned. I can't say it enough, THANKYOU to those Veterans and active servicemen andwomen who may read this and a prayer for those whocannot because they are no longer with us.



This is a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

Pass it on to everyone and pray.

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