Christmas Stories – Americans Supporting Our Troops

by Jack


Dec 13th) My grandson was traveling in his dress blue uniform to his next duty station with some other young sailors from his unit. They stopped to get a shoe shine in Chicago’s Midway airport before flying on to Atlanta when a passerby noticed them. A man walked up and handed them $40 to cover the cost of their shoeshines, and insisted they take it, then he just walked away. Later on and about 15 minutes before boarding his flight, my grandson was at the Starbucks register about to pay for his coffee, when the lady behind him insisted on paying for it.

And now for another story that happened just a few weeks ago, also in Chicago. Thirteen Marines returning from Afghanistan were given the full hero treatment when they landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and it all stemmed from a simple pizza request. Stephanie Hare, whose fiancé, Capt. Pravin Rajan, was part of the team, called the USO crew at the airport to alert them that the Marines would be returning that evening after seven months overseas. Ms. Hare asked if the Marines could receive some famous Chicago pizza and champagne upon arrival, or something of that nature. Instead, they were honored with cheers from a crowd of police, a fire truck water salute and first-class plane tickets!

As the Marines still had to travel to San Diego, they received six first-class upgrades from American Airlines, which has a policy to upgrade servicemen if there are available seats. The remaining marines were granted seats by seven first-class passengers, who “jumped out” of their spots as a gesture so the troops could sit together. Even more impressive, the whole thing was put together in an hour.

I’ve had similar experiences while in uniform. I was taking a morning coffee break in the base dinning hall (California Army National Guard Headquarters) on the day before Christmas eve. A pizza van showed up at our back door and it was loaded with all kinds of pizza’s and sodas, paid for by the appreciative citizens of Sacramento. A few of us were soon helping to off load the van. About 80 enlisted and officers were served that afternoon.

Another time I was seated alone in my Army combat uniform at a restaurant when an older couple picked up my lunch tab. I tried to explain I was just a reserve doing my weekend and while I appreciated their offer they didn’t have to do that, but it didn’t matter to them. A soldier is a soldier. A few months prior I was attending NCO training at our National Training Center at Camp Parks. I ventured off base to pick up some supplies at the local mall and I was confronted by a mother and her 8 year old daughter. They walked up to me and said, “I just wanted to say thank you for your service.’ And both her and her daughter shook my hand, my eyes still get a little misty over that one. I won’t forget these acts of kindness and support for our military people. It touched my heart and I relived those moments minutes ago when my grandson called on his cell phone to relate his own stories.

One of our readers, you know who you are, made a very sizable donation recently to the Fisher House foundation. They provide a free home to stay in for the families of severely wounded vets.  This helps the rehab and eases the pain and suffering by all concerned.   He could have bought something really nice for himself, but instead he chose to support our troops first.  That’s the kind of guy he is.  

I thought you might enjoy hearing these about stories, and that this time of year isn’t just about frantic shopping.

Needless to say our family is deeply moved by these acts of random kindness by strangers. Maybe the next time it will be your son or daughter serving their country and I’ll be able to pass along the kindness shown to us.


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6 Responses to Christmas Stories – Americans Supporting Our Troops

  1. Southern Comfort says:

    What y’all show our military people in respect is secondary to what they give y’all in freedom…

    Merry Christmas to our troops wherever their doggone duty station is this year……Dang it’ be safe and come on home knowing we appreciate yer service…….

  2. Tina says:

    Wonderful stories Jack and a welcome distraction from the concerns of the day that trouble us all.

    God bless the secret Santa!

    One of the worrisome things I dwell on is the way our troops are being treated. The downsizing going on in our military is of real concern.

    I also heard yesterday something about pensions being cut for military retiree as part of that budget compromise:

    …the Ryan-Murray bipartisan budget deal would cut pension cost-of-living raises by 1 percentage point for retirees who aren’t disabled and not yet 62. The compounding effect is what would hurt. A 1 percentage point cut could result in much more than a 20% cut in retiree pension over the course of 20 years. This means military retirees will, on average, lose between $83,000 and $124,000 each from the pensions they were promised.

    These so-called “working-age retirees” are exactly the same troops who were given these promises in exchange for fighting the longest war in our nation’s history, and who received repeated assurances from President Barack Obama and others that any changes to their pensions would affect only those just entering service, not those who have already served.

    This is particularly sickening considering federal workers are scheduled to get a raise soon. Congress just gets raises automatically unless they take action to stop it. Have they? Republicans in the House did in January following an EO issued by the President to keep the pay raises for federal employees, including Congress, intact.

    I haven’t heard if the Republican bill was ever taken up in the Senate.

    Out troops need and deserve all the support we can give them. God bless them and keep them safe.

  3. Pie Guevara says:

    Ditto Tina. Bless you and yours, Jack. Thank you all.

  4. Peggy says:

    I heard yesterday the budget bill passed by the House may not pass in the Senate. What a major change.

    Also heard about the cut to military pensions while the legislator’s pensions go untouched. It’s wrong 20+ year veteran looses and a two year Congress member receives a higher pension untouched for life.

    This budget bill reminds me of ObamaCare. Pass it without reading it and find out what’s in it after it’s passed. Fees, penalties (aka taxes) are all on the front-end with cuts at the back-end when the Congress at that time can opt not to comply.

  5. Peggy says:

    Submitted without comment.

    “SSGT Sal Giunta awarded the Medal of Honor.”

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