The email newsletter from PaperCreations Magazine had a request regarding a ten-year-old american, that seeks to send every military personel a ThankYou card next year. I chose to contribute to his quest.
Now you are thinking: Why does somebody with a citizenship different from a US chose to contribute to this? Well just go back to WWII - the US fought for the indenpendence of a lot of countries, including mine, where people like my parents (yes, they were born back then) got their rightfull freedom back. But the following is the real reason, why I did it.
On a flight some 7 years ago between Chicago and Amsterdam, I sat next to an engineer in military uniform, who was going to the MiddleEast for his 3rd military deployment in the area. For the first ½ hour he could not sit still in his seat holding some kind of book really tight, making me wonder if he was actually scared of flying, and it seem to become worse when we hit turbulence. "Do you mind talking with me for a litlle bit? My nerves seem to be outside my uniform right now".
He was nervous because he had just left his wife and his 2-year-old son to go to there - high unemployment in his area had made him think outside the box, and this seemed to be the only way to support his family financially. He and his family had to move into the basement of his sister's house, when the wife got fired from his job. His main concern was, if the deployment in the MiddleEast would change his personality too much as his family meant everything to him - and what I thought might have been his Bible turned out to be a photoalbum. We talked for about 5 hours: about family values, traditions in our countries, people's perceptions on our countries, school systems and the list goes on.
Now, when flying long haul flights, I can't help imagining, what might be rumbling in some of the other passengers' minds: Why are they flying to...? Did they leave loved ones at home? Do they fly out to start a new life? Sometimes you gain a little insight because you have light conversations with them - other times you are absorbed into your book, an inflight magazine/movie or simply just sleeping.
So why did I do this? Simply: Because I can :o)