One Of My Fondest Memories: The MarinesI was having a particularly rough day.
After visiting family in California, I was dropped off at the airport to head home to Houston. (Any mother can tell you traveling alone with a 5 month old and luggage is no easy feat.) Turns out I was dropped off almost six hours too early, so I decided to sit off to the side in the terminal and just wait. There was no point in trying to get picked up and brought back. I got lucky, my son mostly napped through the whole experience. I mostly read and people watched. About an hour before it was time to start boarding, four decked out Marines came and sat near me to wait for the same flight. They were excited to be headed home. After settling in they noticed the boy and I and struck up a bit of conversation. Nothing in depth, just enough to rescue me from my silence. When it came time to board they ended up a few rows ahead of me. I try to be considerate and plan things according to Murphy's law so I had requested a seat closer to the back and onto a flight that was fairly empty. So when the flight attendant came over after I buckled my boy's carrier and myself in, to express that having the carrier out was going to be an issue, I was taken aback. It didn't take long before she was frustrated that I had not purchased a second seat, and that she was going to need to speak with the pilot before we could take off. She mentioned I was probably going to have to get off and purchase a second ticket. (This is in 1996, it really was not that big of a deal back then and it wasn't my first flight, and I had a pretty good handle on flight etiquette back then, having flown most of my life.) As I said, it was a rough day, I sat there wondering what I was going to do and if she was seriously about to kick me off this flight, I just wanted to get home. Meanwhile, the boy was sawing logs and counting sheep. The tears hadn't quite begun to swell when, almost like they had all had the same thought, The Marines summoned the flight attendant. All I heard, all I remember is "Ma'am, she's with us." She looked back at me and "how can you refuse that" was written all over her face. She wasn't thrilled but obliged. Our flight took off and I didn't ask for peanuts. I left it alone. The Marines came and checked on me once or twice before landing. Of course I expressed my gratitude but no names were ever exchanged. When we landed, they had so many people waiting on them with banners and hugs. I remember looking back and saying the first of many prayers that have included those gentlemen, Those Marines. They saved me.
Not your typical "I support the Marines story", I'm sure but, it meant more than they could have known.