FOOD FOR THOUGHT THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
“You are flying with a fallen soldier,” the airline attendant said over the intercom. “There’s a ceremony taking place on the tarmac where the flashing police lights are. It’s a beautiful ceremony if you’d like to go to the window and watch it.” Hearing the attendant say that startled and saddened me at the same time. I’ve never flown with a fallen soldier before or knew anything about it. I was barely awake, as it was 6 a.m., cold, and dark outside. Michael, his brother Neil, our nephew Diego, and I were at LAX waiting to board our flight to Rhode Island with a stop in Atlanta. Even at this early hour, the terminal was packed with people. I was curious to go to the window, but the three of them walked away from our seats and carry-ons faster than I did, so I stayed. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving all of our stuff on the chairs unattended to see what was happening outside. As I sat guarding our belongings, I thought this must be a young man or woman, but most likely, it was a young person. Being a mother myself, I felt such an overwhelming sadness for this soldier’s parents. Did he or she have a spouse or children? I felt sorrowful for someone I didn’t know. The attendant interrupted my thoughts and informed us that the fallen soldier would be boarding the plane first. Michael came back to the seat and shared the story of the ceremony: the flashing lights, the American flag placed on top of the coffin, and the other soldiers carrying the coffin to a lift for it to go up into the underside of the plane.
The entire flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, I thought about the fallen soldier, and person, who died too soon. As we neared our destination, the flight attendant announced, “Fallen soldier Sergeant Dobson will soon be reaching his final resting place.”The soldier was a man, and I now knew his name. I Googled his name trying to find out more information on him, as I had an urge to send his family a condolence card. I couldn’t find any information on him in particular. The attendant then said we’d be landing soon and asked everyone to remain seated, to please not get up and get items from the overhead bins, or to line up at the door, as Sergeant Dobson would be the first to leave the plane, and there would be a ceremony outside. When the plane landed, everyone remained seated. Not one person jumped up, and I was glad everyone gave Sergeant Dobson the respect he deserved. I was also able to observe the ceremony of him coming off the plane. I can’t remember all the details, as this happened many months ago, although it was similar to what Michael told me when the soldier boarded the plane. I remember this: It was a beautiful ceremony. I don’t live in a military town, and I don’t know any military families. We have a few people in our membership who served in the military, and I know people who know people who
serve in the military. But for the most part, I’m unfamiliar with people serving in the military.
While I don’t know much about the military, what I do know is that I’m very grateful for the young men and women who sign up to serve and protect our country. Every year, we honor those who have fallen on Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. It doesn’t need to be Memorial Day to honor a fallen soldier. I appreciated the care and respect that Delta Airlines gave Sergeant Dobson, the man who paid the ultimate price for keeping our country safe. With Memorial Day approaching, I want to say to every person in the military, those who served, those serving, and those who’ve passed on, I appreciate you, and thank you for your service. –Roslyn Rozbruch
2 • www.rozstrategies.com
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