Friday, December 6, 2013

Honour thy Soldiers - Point to Ponder

Recently, the JI's head Mr Munawar Hussain has made some very compelling remarks about the soldiers who lay down their lives in line of their duty and in service of the country. The comments came after killing of the TTP chief by missiles fired from the US drones in the North Waziristan town of Miran Shah. 

The statement has most certainly hurt the families of those countless brave men who perished fighting the menace of militancy and terrorism that has plagued the country for more than a decade now and has resulted into the death of thousands of civilians, specially while offering prayers.

Perhaps the clerics fail to understand the essence of fighting in the name of Allah and are more sympathetic toward the militants rather than those fighting them to rid the country of the militancy, so that the population in general could live in peace.

The statement as cited above has certainly divided the nation on the issue and morale of the men in uniform have certainly been given a big blow. For unfortunate people like us, perhaps our soldiers should not be fighting for us. But I mus commend these brave young men who still go forward into terrorists infested areas and fight them out. 

This brings me to a small anecdote that I saw on the Facebook and I felt like sharing it with my readers just to show them how great nations respect their soldiers. No one ever demeans their services and honour them when they return in the national flag draped coffins. This is what great nations do - unlike us who humiliate their soldiers for point scoring and sympathising with those who take away our sons.

Now read this anecdote 'Airline Lunch' by Barry Whiteley

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight from Gatwick. I'm glad I have a good book to read Perhaps I will get a short sleep,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of British Army Youngsters came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. After flying for about an hour, I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you blokes headed?' I asked the young man seated nearest to me.

‘Cyprus . We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan’.

An announcement was made that lunches were available for five pounds. It would be several hours before we reached Cyprus, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

I overheard a soldier ask his mate if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just an airline lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five Quid’. His mate agreed. I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch.

I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty Pound note. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers..' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My young bloke was a soldier in Iraq, it's almost like you are doing it for him..'

Picking up ten lunch-boxes, she headed up the aisle to where the boys were seated.

She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'

'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked..

She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. This is your thanks.

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. An old bloke stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five Pounds..

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked. I hoped he wasn't looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seat-belt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was an army pilot a long time back. Once someone bought me lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A kid who looked about 18 was sitting about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five Pounds in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to depart. Waiting just inside the aeroplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five Pounds!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip up to their training area.. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five Pounds. 'It will take you some time to reach your training area. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You Blokes.'

Ten young blokes left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow Brits. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A Serviceman is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank cheque made payable to'My Country' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

That is Honour. In some countries, the Politicians are not only robbing their Citizens with Millions and Billions of Dollars but are also robbing the DEAD Soldiers who Died for the Country and Countrymen...

I hope I have been able to put across what I wanted to say - honour thy soldiers!!

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