Lady on flight sitting in first class switches seats with military veteran

Via the San Antonio Express-News:

Last Wednesday, while flying from Phoenix to the Alamo City on U.S. Airways Flight 207, a San Antonio man, Gil Anderson, witnessed something memorable.

Shortly before takeoff, he overheard a flight attendant tell a young uniformed soldier sitting in front of him:

“A lady in first-class wants to switch seats with you.”

The soldier accepted the offer and walked up to the first-class section.

“When the lady came back to our area, I had a tear in my eye,” Anderson said when he phoned this column soon after his plane landed. “I gave her a little round of applause.

“Then, by golly, everybody in that area started applauding,” he said in a voice tinged with emotion. “It was a very moving moment.”

Acknowledging the applause of Anderson and the other passengers, the first-class lady said simply:

“I did it because he deserves it.”

Indeed. But things aren’t always so pleasant for our military at airports, as Michelle Malkin details here:

In short: “On September 27th 204 Marines and soldiers who were returning from Iraq were not allowed into the passenger terminal at Oakland International Airport.Instead they had to deplane about 400 yards away from the terminal where the extra baggage trailers were located. This was the last scheduled stop for fuel and food prior to flying to Hawaii where both were based. The trip started in Kuwait on September 26th with a rigorous search of checked and carry on baggage by US Customs. All baggage was x-rayed with a ‘backscatter’ machine AND each bag was completely emptied and hand searched. After being searched, checked bags were marked and immediately placed in a secure container. Carry on bags were then x rayed again to ensure no contraband items were taken on the plane. While waiting for the bus to the airport, all personnel were in quarantined in a fenced area and were not allowed to leave.” Nevertheless, Oakland forbade them from entering its terminal. According to the Marine, a Lieutenant who served in Afghanistan with the same unit in 2006 noted that Oakland had treated troops the same way before. He “was almost arrested by the TSA for getting belligerent about them not letting the Marines into the terminal” despite more rigorous screening prior to landing in Oakland. Both JFK airport and in Germany had no problem with the Marines entering their terminals.

In semi-related news, the “support the troops but not the mission” (uh huh!) crowd were out this weekend in DC protesting the Iraq war, and Age of Hooper has photos and video from the protests. One of the videos shows the ‘bats burning an American flag (h/t: Van Helsing).

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