May 20-10

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2010: May: May 20-10
Touching moment    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Roland Burgan
Honoring their service    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Roland Burgan
2010 Parade Marshals    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Roland Burgan

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 07:04 am:

Roland Burgan snapped these photos at the Parade of Thanks program on Armed Forces Day over the weekend. The three folks sitting on stage were the Parade Marshals who were being honored for their service to our country. Roland sent the following information about the photos:

Top photo: In a touching moment, as the Keweenaw Swing Band played a Glen Miller tune from the 40s, Mary Altman, a former US Army nurse, reached over and gripped the hand of SPC John French, Iraq Purple Heart recipient. With that touch, a 60 year plus "bridge" of concern was exhibited, for yet another wounded American serviceman.

Middle Photo: WWII, 103 year old US Army Nurse, Lt. Mary Altman, RN, was presented a plaque from the US Congress honoring her service to wounded veterans. Amy Wiisti, does the honors, representing US Congressman Bart Stupak.

Bottom photo: WWII WAC (Woman's Army Corp) bugler, Eloise Greenley, was presented a plaque from the Michigan Legislature, also signed by Gov. Granholm, for her service. State Representative Mike Lahti shakes her hand in congratulations.
Dennis Korby (seen in the third photo, wearing a cowboy hat), is the Parade of Thanks organizer and remarked that as far as he knows, having two women as Parade Marshals was a first for a military parade. He also added that it was long overdue. What a wonderful way to honor those who protect our freedoms!
Robert - CO (Halork) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 07:13 am:

Thank you, heroes!

By Dorothy Stewart (Bootjackbabe) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 07:40 am:

God Bless all our men and women who served or are serving this great country. Words cannot express how grateful we are to have such dedicated AMERICANS!!!!! Thank you so very much.
Loved all the photos.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 07:51 am:

Great pictures! If it wasn't because of people like these fine folks, there would be no America like we have! Thanks to all who served and are serving!

By Donna (Donna) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 07:52 am:

Wow...this washed my face! Thank you for this wonderful tribute, and THANK YOU to ALL our Veterans!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 08:03 am:

Wow...what a nice tribute and accomplishment, especially at that age.

By moi (Moi) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 08:34 am:

So awesome to see true heroes get the attention they deserve, as opposed to Hollywood, which is only pretend!

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 09:11 am:

What beautiful ladies, Mary & Eloise! I join Dorothy in saying "God bless" 'em ALL! These photos show what America is and has always been about, in spite of the present times. As a child during WWII I remember the patriotism that was so widespread.....when we'd be in the movie theaters and 'Old Glory' appeared on the screen, everyone would start clapping, whistling and cheering. Oh how I miss those times.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 11:44 am:

Great ladies and a great event. The Copper Country surely is raising the bar when it comes to honoring veterans.Thanks to Dennis Korby.

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 03:59 pm:

God bless all our Troops.

By Donna (Donna) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 05:40 pm:

PHENOMENAL work Mr. Korby!

By Donna (Donna) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 06:23 pm:

Just got this in an email...(and sorry for the length..but this washed my face too!)


He writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. on this flight." (H.R. stands for human remains.) "Are they military?" I asked.

'Yes', she said.
'Is there an escort?' I asked.
'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.
'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early," I said..

A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.

'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia,' he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.

I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .

The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do.. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher.. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:

'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.

Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of AMERICA .

Prayer for our Military...

'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen..'

Please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.


By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 06:36 pm:

Donna, thank you so much for sharing that. So very tears are still flowing! "God Bless America, Land that We Love!"

By Roland Burgan (Rburgan) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 10:36 pm:

Thanks for that story. Gerald Lehman's remains will be arriving in the Copper Country on June 12 (Pearl Harbor, WWII).

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 11:26 pm:

I remember the escort of my brother looked just as young as my brother was when he died at 19 yrs. old. I do remember the escort of my brother was not old enough to drink yet, so he was as young as my brother. The escort told us escorting my brother home to us was the first time he did it.

Along with 'Thanking' all the brave men and women who protect us with thier lives, lets now give a 'Thank You' to the people (escorts) who stand by our loved ones to make sure they get home to us...

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