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Thursday, July 26th 2007

11:46 AM

The Red Shirt Thing

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Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine
sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two

After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd been
invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was
heading home.

No, he responded.

Heading out I asked?

No. I'm escorting a soldier home.

Going to pick him up?

No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq , I'm taking him home
to his family.

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to
the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't
know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the
soldiers family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in
so few days.

I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you. Thank you
for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.

Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the
following announcement over the intercom.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor
of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on
this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I
ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door
to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We
will then turn off the seat belt sign."

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting
the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me
realize that I am proud to be an American.

So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you
do so we can live the way we do.

Red Fridays.

Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday.
The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the
"silent majority." We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for
God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized,
boisterous or overbearing.

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to
recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our
idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and
respect starts this Friday -- and continues each and every Friday until
the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that .. every
red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear
something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every
Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the
bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this
with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long
before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the
once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more
than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things
better for you?" is. "We need your support and your prayers." Let's get
the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and wear
something red every Friday.

In the words of President Teddy Roosevelt, "We have room for but one
flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and
that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole
loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."


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