Saturday, May 31, 2008

Will You Give This To Daddy?

Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I
was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me
beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed
one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they
began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly
to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and
cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm no t the only red-blooded
American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young
unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so
we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our
service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran
up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy
fo r her.

The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself,
s aid he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then
suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the
biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her da ughter's name was
Courtney , told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had
been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her
daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all
of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the
other service m en pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They
started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to
Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he
told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he
had just met and gave her a kiss on t he cheek. He finished by saying
'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and
he is coming home very soon.'

The mom at this point wa s crying almost uncon trollably and as the young
soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was
standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people
resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around,
there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in
one last act of se lflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney
with a tear rolling down his ch eek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and
thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's
good to be an American.

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