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A Plane Ride With Army PFC Howard Johnson, Jr.

This touching letter from a gentleman in Mobile, Alabama
 

I want to tell you of an experience I had last night flying home from
Atlanta. 

The pilot came on the intercom and went through the usual 
announcements telling us that "we're just east of Montgomery 
cruising at 28,000 feet"and "you've picked a beautiful night for flying, 
just look at the gorgeous southern sunset out of the right side of the 
plane". 

He then, however, said this: 
"Please bear with me as I deviate from the script,
but I want you all to know that simply by coincidence you have been
granted both the privilege and honor of escorting the body of Army 
PFC Howard Johnson, Jr. home tonight. PFC Johnson was killed in 
Iraq defending the freedoms we all enjoy, and fighting to extend those
freedoms to the people of Iraq. We are also accompanied by PFC
Johnson's cousin, Marine Major Talley, who has been chosen by the
family to escort PFC Johnson home. Semper Fi!"
 
The plane quickly became very quiet, but soon erupted in thunderous
applause that lasted for several minutes. It was quite moving, to say
the least. As I sat there thinking about what the pilot had said, and
visualizing 21 year old PFC Johnson's dead body riding below me in 
the belly of that plane, I noticed a couple of things. 

Two rows in front of me sat a father holding his daughter, an infant, and 
they were practicing "ma-ma" and in the row behind me was another 
young boy, probably 2 or so, learning to count to 10. Now obviously 
both are too young to realize we're at war, or that one of our dead was 
with us, but it made me think, and this is the point: 

These warriors, mostly young, all volunteers, everyday are prepared to 
give their lives for our future, for a safer, more secure future for people 
they don't even know, all based on the principle that fighting and dying for 
this country is worth it.

By the way, the flight ended with all of us deplaning only to line the
windows of the gate house to watch PFC Johnson's body, draped in the
American flag, be rolled out of the plane and into a waiting hearse
that was surrounded by his family members.
 
Please pray that our soldiers' sight is acute, their aim is true, and
that as many come home as God can spare.

Author Unknown