And it ain't patriotism.
Thanks for the Memory to Michelle Malkin.
Some of you may remember the entry I made regarding Greyhound's treatment of a Marine. I never did hear any follow-up on that one. Apparently, however, Greyhound isn't alone in its idiocy. Michelle links to one of my favorite blogs, Marine Corps Moms, who in turn link to the Benton Courier, and a Letter to the Editor (sort of):
This letter is NOT to the editor. This letter is to the young female soldier from Benton, who I had the privilege to meet this past Friday evening as we were both trying to get home to Arkansas. Returning from a business trip to New Jersey, I was changing planes in Cincinnati when we met. I had just boarded Delta Flight 6281 (operated by Chautauqua Airlines, a Delta Connection Carrier), Delta's last flight of the evening to Little Rock, when you came onboard and sat down in front of me. I, along with other passengers who had already boarded, listened while you shared your story with us. Having spent [more than] six months in Iraq, you were traveling home to Arkansas. While in Iraq, you had been under enemy fire frequently - on many occasions, several times a day. You had lost two fellow soldiers from your post, and just recently (watched) another lose a leg. You were exhausted from two days of travel, having flown from Iraq to Kuwait, from Kuwait to the Netherlands, from the Netherlands to Cincinnati Š but you were excited and happy, because Cincinnati to Little Rock meant you would be home, just in time for your youngest child's second birthday. You had 18 days' leave remaining before returning to Iraq.
This letter is also to the well-dressed, middle-aged woman who boarded the plane late, who through some administrative error had been assigned the same seat as the soldier. Your behavior made it obvious to me and those around me that you had no intention of handling the situation in a mature way. You approached the flight attendant and demanded "your seat." As the flight attendant worked with the gate crew to try and resolve the issue, the soldier was asked to leave the plane. Shortly thereafter, you returned. When I inquired as to whether you were aware that the individual who had previously been in "your seat" was a soldier traveling home from Iraq on leave to see her family, your verbatim response was, "So what Š I'm a victim from Chicago! What's the difference?" All within earshot were dumbfounded. It was apparent that you have no appreciation for your fellow Americans who leave home and family and risk their lives wearing the uniform of the United States military.
This letter is also to Delta Airlines. When I, along with several others onboard, approached the Chautauqua flight attendant volunteering to give up one of our seats for the soldier, she left to ask the pilot if that could be arranged, then returned to inform me that the pilot was discussing it with "ops." I overheard part of her ensuing conversation with the pilot, where he conveyed the message that Delta would not permit a paying passenger to be replaced with a "non-rev" Š so, in the end, the decision which caused the soldier to spend yet another night away from home was a financial one. Why, instead, don't soldiers like this one get preferential treatment from Delta instead of being placed last on the list? I am, and have been for many years, a Delta Medallion frequent flier, and may continue to fly Delta when appropriate. However, in spite of Delta's well-publicized financial difficulties, if it is your corporate policy to prioritize profit margin over principled corporate citizenship, then I will be a vocal opponent of any federal financial aid to Delta Airlines.
This letter is also to those in the U.S. military responsible for placing this soldier and all like her in this situation in the first place. As a small businessman, I understand fiscal responsibilities and expect taxpayers' money to be stewarded wisely. I cannot believe, though, that there are not better ways to save money than having our military personnel traveling to and from combat situations on leave flying on commercial airlines under this type of arrangement. Does this policy apply to the military decision-makers as well? Will it take you three days to get home on leave if and when you are ever again asked to serve in combat?
As I was deplaning in Little Rock, the flight attendant handed me a folded piece of paper and personally thanked me for offering my seat to the soldier. Walking through the terminal, I read the note she had written. The youngest of her six children, her only son, was joining the Army. She was expressing her hopes that, in the event he was ever placed in a similar situation, he would be treated differently or at least know that there were those who appreciated his service.
Back to the young soldier: Because you were asked to leave the plane, you did not see that there were numerous volunteers willing to give up their set for you. You only heard the one ingrate who had no appreciation for the sacrifices you are making for all of us. That was no way to be welcomed home to America. I was both ashamed to have been a part of what happened and angry that, in spite of our efforts, there was nothing the other passengers and I could do to help you. Again, this letter is first and foremost to you. It is my intention that it appears in the media before your return to Iraq, so that you will know your efforts are appreciated and that you are sincerely welcomed home by most, if not all, of us. I hope we get another opportunity to do just that. May God bless you and keep you safe.
Michael E. Nelson
Well said, Mr. Nelson. Good for you and your fellow passengers for the effort. shame on that woman.
And shame on Delta for stabbing a young soldier serving her country in the back. I'll never fly Delta again. (And with the financial trouble they're in, let's hope that before long, NOONE ever flies Delta again)!
Courtesy of Michelle, here is a site where you can tell Delta what unpatriotic scum they are.