Okay, I’m a lousy brother

“Call your sister and wish her happy birthday”

The wife enters my office.

Birthday Cake 02I already wished her happy birthday on Facebook.

A cake with 500 candles was included.

It probably started a 20 acre brush fire somewhere in Arizona.

“You should call her”

I’m busy right now.

“Your sister wants to talk with you”

My sister’s an old-fashioned lady.
She knows how to use the phone.

“So you’re not going to call her?”

She’s probably out with her 153 family members having a party somewhere.

Anyway, we’ll see her when we go mooch Thanksgiving dinner in November.

“That’s 5 months away. You should call your sister”

One has to understand┬áthe wife’s never gone more than 18 hours without checking in with each and every girlfriend.

For her five months is an eternity.
For me – it’s like almost next week.

Tell you what – here’s my phone.
You call her.

“You want me to call her?”

You’re the one that thinks we should talk to her right now.
And you’ll be the one yacking to her all night.

“So you’re not going to call your sister? She loves you.”

And I love her.
I just don’t have anything to say besides happy birthday and I already did that.

“Your not going to call her?”

This is starting to go in circles.

I’ve been saying that for the past 10 minutes.
And I’m busy.

“What kind of brother are you?”

Obviously a bad one.

Also a grumpy one if this continues much longer.
Sigh.

Okay.
I called her.

Memorial Day 2015

It was a long time ago in a place far away.

There were no windows in the plane so we waited for the ramp to drop.

As it slowly opened the bright light made each of us to turn away for a minute.

As we looked up we were met with the biggest airbase any of us had ever seen.

Planes were parked everywhere and vehicles of every sort scurried among them.

vietnam-sizedWe gathered our gear as the cargo plane rumbled to a stop somewhere in the middle of all this chaos.

As the ramp touched the asphalt we were assaulted with heat and humidity that one imagined only could exist in Hell.

And here.

Welcome to war.

Please wait over here.
Someone will be with you shortly.

We looked at each other and each of us were thinking the same thing.
Shit.

The moment we stepped off the back of that plane trucks started pulling up to the ramp.

As we waited for someone – anyone – to tell us what to do or where to go we watched quietly.

Out of the trucks and into the plane moved dozens and dozens of caskets.
Each draped in an American flag.

Slid into the belly of that plane and strapped down for the final trip home.

It was well choreographed like it happened all the time.
We got off – they moved on.

Some with reverence and respect.
Too many with a business-like attitude of just another box.

With many more to come.

Metal boxes┬ácontaining someone’s brother, son, husband, best friend.

Caskets of dreams unfulfilled, hearts broken and lives snuffed too early.

A chaplain says some words and the plane begins to move.

Another plane will take its place later to do the same thing.

It could have been Da Nang, South Vietnam, or Kandahar, Afghanistan or Balad, Iraq.

It’s all really the same.

soldier-sizedWe must never forget there are people who go in harm’s way to protect you and your way of life.

People who believe, whether you do or not, that what they do is meaningful and important.

There are those who willingly put their lives on the line so you may enjoy the benefits of our nation.

If you find that statement ridiculous, then spend a moment reflecting on what our country, and your life, may look like if they did not exist.

It’s Memorial Day.

Don’t thank someone for their service.
It’s not their day.

Quietly thank those you gave their life for you.

Why is Hawaiian Air not doing this?

Give me a moment of your time.

You’ll understand this is important.

It’s been several years since I first heard of the Delta Honor Guard.

It’s a group of employees and baggage handlers at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

They meet every Delta plane carrying a fallen soldier.
Or in this case repatriated remains from the Korean War.

This is what they do.

And they do it with pride and love.

American soldiers are still going in harm’s way all over the world.

To my knowledge Hawaiian Airlines does not do something like this.

For the life of me – I can’t understand – why not?

For a company that says it cares so much about people this should be a given.

You can bet Hawaiian Air workers would flock to join.

You can bet almost any active duty soldier would want to volunteer his or her time to show those workers how to be an honor guard.

I once wrote a nice email to the PR folks at Hawaiian asking them to consider it.
I offered to assist in finding the appropriate military assistance.

I never heard back.
That sucked but the offer still stands.

Someone out there reading this knows someone who’s a big shot with Hawaiian.

Forward this to them and then ask, “why not?”

Ask them how they possibly could not do something like this.
Aren’t they ashamed that there are those who think they don’t care?

If they say it costs too much money then please give them hell for me.
They deserve it.

Then let me know the answer so I can share it with everyone.

We all should be a little grumpy over this.

Update: Ten days have gone by. Nothing from Hawaiian Air – or anyone. Sorry to say I’m not surprised. Maybe I should organize a picket line. That always gets attention.