Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Flight Home

I had intended to blog today about some more activities Patty and I enjoyed at the Shrine Imperial Session. However, I had a very moving experience on the flight home, and need to tell you about it.

Patty and I ended up sitting in different rows - she directly in front of me. My row mate was a young man with some significant burn scars. His right ear was pretty much just a small mass of scar tissue. His face was more purple than any other color. His arms showed signs of burns, as did his right leg.

I found that he was heading home to Eden Prairie. I mentioned that I was coming from the Shrine session, and told him about the Shrine burn hospitals. He was impressed.

I then found he was heading home on leave from his base near San Antonio. He was a proud Marine of five years, and the injuries were sustained in the service of our country in Afghanistan. I must say I choked up pretty bad when I tried to say "Thank you".

This Marine is to be honorably discharged within the next several months. He hopes to attend college for a degree in law enforcement. I gave him my card, and encouraged him to drop me an e-mail so that I can forward to him an application for the next round of General Waldron Scholarships, which I expect the Grand Lodge corporate board will approve this Saturday.

I hope he writes me - I never did get his name. It was a privilege to share the row with this brave young man. Thank you, whoever you are.