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Would you give your seat to family of fallen Marine?

Between innings at Nationals Park, we put down our beers and hot dogs and clap for the wounded warriors. Sometimes we clap for soldiers walking through the airport. Sometimes we festoon our cars with yellow bumper stickers that proudly announce that we "Support the Troops."

That's what we're willing to do. But would you give up your seat on an overbooked flight for a soldier? What about a soldier's family? What about a dead soldier's family escorting his casket home?

According to a riveting article in the Washington Times, a flight attendant at Washington National recently pleaded with passengers to accept a $500 flight voucher and take a later flight so that the family of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, killed in Afghanistan, could accompany his casket home from Dover Air Force Base. Initially, three passengers volunteered, including Colleen M. Getz, a Pentagon official who wrote the Times story.

But we three were not enough: Six were needed. So we stood there watching the family - dignified and mute, weighed with grief and fatigue - as the airline representative repeatedly called for assistance for this dead soldier's family. No one else stepped forward. The calls for volunteers may have lasted only 20 or 30 minutes, but it seemed hours. It was almost unbearable to watch, yet to look away was to see the more than 100 other witnesses to this tragedy who were not moved to help. Then it did become unbearable when, in a voice laced with desperation and tears, the airline representative pleaded, "This young man gave his life for our country, can't any of you give your seats so his family can get home?" Those words hung in the air. Finally, enough volunteers stepped forward.

So: would you have given up your seat? What do you think of the people who refused? Has eight years of war made us numb? Please weigh in on the comments board below.

By Christian Davenport  |  June 9, 2010; 10:03 AM ET
 | Tags: Colleen Getz, Dover Air Force Base, Justin Wilson, Marine Corps, National Airport, Washington Times  
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Next: When Daddy goes to war

Comments

I ONLY HOPE THOSE WHO STOOD BY WITH TICKETS AND DID OR SAID NOTHING READ THIS ARTICLE TO REMIND THEM WHAT PATHETIC AMERICANS THEY REALLY ARE...SELFISH AND SINGLE MINDED. AM ASHAMED ON THOSE WHO HELD BACK...

I SUSPECT THEIR ATTITUDES WOULD OF CHANGED HAD THEY HAD SOMEONE THEY LOVED IN ARMS WAY IN AFGHANISTAN OR IRAQ.


Afgh/2003;Iraq/2005

Posted by: LTC11A | June 12, 2010 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Washington (Reagan) National Airport is a 5-minute drive from Arlington National Cemetery, but apparently it might as well be 10,000 miles away. I wonder what the airline was willing (or unwilling), to give up to facilitate this. There is either an untold "rest of the story", or this is a group of people lacking honor, respect and perhaps self-respect. -CW2VL, FOB Shank, Afghanistan.

Posted by: ChiefV | June 12, 2010 5:43 AM | Report abuse

This is pathetic and a very sad commentary on the state of affairs..It is not merely a military family, but a family in great distress, on the way to paying final respects to a hero. But then should we be truly shocked.. hasn't the popular culture encouraged shamelessness, ingratitude and utter lack of sensitivity and other good things that make people civilized humans. Gordon Gekko lives! Greed and self-centeredness rule!!

Of course, it also could be a passive-aggressive collective reaction of the benumbed society to the horribly botched military adventure, misplaced priorities, etc., but still...

George

Posted by: GeorgeKS12 | June 12, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Wow! What has happened to us? We say we love our troops and when it comes time to show it, we turn our backs because of the incovenience. Shame on us!
I would have given my seat, seems like such a small sacrifice considering what this Marines family has paid.
The silver lining to this story is that some people did readily give up their seat and the flight attendant showed the persistence, empathy and grace when an advocate was sorely needed.
May the Marine rest in peace! And prayers to his family.
God Bless America.
Airborne!

Posted by: howieiii | June 12, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't support the war(s) and I tend to believe that volunteer servicemen and women knew the risks and were aware they could die as a result of their choice, but of course I would have given up my seat to accommodate a grieving family, but not because they are a military family. We should be gracious to any family wanting to fly home with a deceased loved one's coffin. No one at home cares about the war because they are not required to make any sacrifices if they don't want to, and compared to other wars, this is low casualty, so it doesn't impact most people's every day lives.

Posted by: leilaash | June 12, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't have given up my seat either. Sick and tired of having to pretend these meatheads are "heroes."

Posted by: ninja_exterminator | June 13, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The airline attendant had to beg people to give up their seats- unbelievable! Makes me what to cry.
And now to the comment by the person who called our soldiers "meatheads". Let's hope you are never in a hurricane or natural disaster and need the national guard or reserves. Bet you won't call them meatheads then!

Posted by: StandupfortheTruth | June 13, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

As a true lover of freedom, I have borne my share of war on my TV Screen. Yet, only Warpresident Bush had the guts to honor my sacrifice.

We must never let Liberals undermine our determination to achieve Ultimate Victory in the Long War by making us pay for it through higher taxes!

Long live Iraqi Freedom!...and Afghani Freedom!!

On to Tehran!!!!


!!!!!!

Posted by: motorfriend | June 13, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

I am truly appalled by the lack of sensitivity shown to this family by the majority of the people on this flight.

ninja-exterminator, hopefully your next flight will be in the cargo hold as Lance Cpl. Wilson's was. Then no one will ask you to give up your seat.

Posted by: ConfusedFed | June 15, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I am truly appalled by the lack of sensitivity shown to this family by the majority of the people on this flight.

ninja-exterminator, hopefully your next flight will be in the cargo hold as Lance Cpl. Wilson's was. Then no one will ask you to give up your seat.

Posted by: ConfusedFed | June 15, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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