Flying on Veteran’s Day

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  • My husband’s eighty-nine-year-old father passed away at the end of October. His memorial service was held in Corpus Christi on November 10, 2012. We flew there for the service. My husband is a pastor, and he conducted a memorable celebration that honored his father’s life. I’m new to his family, and it was a privilege to watch his siblings and his offspring interacting. It had also been a privilege to know his dad very briefly.

    Flying Home

    We flew home the following Monday, and the head of our flight crew was an exceptional woman named Mary Hannold. A former teacher, she is kind, considerate, and aware of each of her passengers. We loved her individual attention. We enjoyed a song she sang at the beginning of the flight, but we were most impressed by what she did right before our landing.

    For the first time in my flying experience, I was asked to do an end-of-the-flight stretch: “Up, to the left, to the right, and bend down,” she said. “Then while you’re down there, would you check for any trash we can collect?” People laughed. “Very clever,” I said to my husband.

    Then her voice grew more serious. She asked us to lower all the shades and when it was dark, she said, “If you are a military veteran, please push the call button.”

    Long May She Wave

    I’ve never served in the military, but for the first time in my 63 years, I had a connection to a veteran. My husband served in the Navy in Vietnam.

    We watched together as the call lights came on ahead of us. The cabin glowed, reminding me of candles at a concert.

    Then Mary said, “If you are a spouse or family member of a veteran, please click on the call button. We know you served too, and we appreciate your contribution.”

    I reached for the button. Then I turned to my husband, and asked, “Do I qualify?” He had been married to his first wife, Jean, back in the days of the Vietnam War, and I’d been a high school student in high school during the years he served. As a college student, I believed the war was wrong, back before I understood that the media doesn’t tell us everything.

    Honoring Veterans

    He grinned and said, “What do you think?”

    For the first time I realized how much marrying my husband had expanded my world. I was a military wife, as well as a step-mother to seven children and a step-grandmother to 15 more. I wonder how many others felt empowered by Mary Hannold’s tribute to veterans.

    What inspired you on Veteran’s Day? 

    B. Lynn Goodwin

    B. Lynn Goodwin is the author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, available on Amazon. Her stories and articles have been published in Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; the Oakland Tribune; the Contra Costa Times; the Danville Weekly; Staying Sane When You’re Dieting; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; Career; We Care;, Friction Literary Journal, and The Sun. A former teacher, she conducts workshops and writes reviews for Story Circle Network and InspireMeToday. She’s working on a YA novel and brainstorming a memoir. She’s the owner and editor of Writer Advice. Writer Advice recently celebrated its 16th year and runs contests for aspiring and published writers as well as sharing useful tips from experienced writers.

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    What Do You Think?

    What Do You Think?