This morning the Morning Crew received a phone call from listener, Don Preston, encouraging us to watch the attached video featuring ' Angel Flight', by Radney Foster.  Being already Familiar with the song and video I knew that it would result in a moment of respectful reflection in the studio.

I am a veteran who served in the U.S. Army, retiring after a 20 year career that included deployments to Bosnia, Macedonia, and numerous tours to the war in Iraq. I have seen too many fellow soldiers make the trip home in the same manner.  Additionally, serving in two tours to Korea, a tour in Germany, and other small missions around the world.

This video reminds me of my returning flight to the states where I was a passenger on a plane that accompanied a fallen-brother-in-arms.  There are no words to describe the humble reverence that floods you during such an experience.  It is an experience that I will carry to the grave, I cannot contain the emotion that I feel even while typing this story. I constantly wrestle with the sorrow and guilt of knowing that I came home, but they did not.  It is an issue that I ponder on daily.

Knowing that I made it home and many didn't burdens me to live up to an unspoken obligation to those fallen,it is to live my life to the fullest.  People think that I have my hands in too many things, always burning the candle at both ends, and yes I do push my time to the limit.

I push things to the limit because I remember a hot and unbearable night in Iraq, on an island (in the middle of the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers), that was nicknamed 'Bandit Island'. That night we came under heavy mortar and small arms fire.  I remember running to my fighting position with nothing on but a flak vest, a Kevlar Helmet, and my rifle in hand.  I told God that if I made it through it, I would live life to the fullest and try to be a better man.

I still have so far to go. I regret not always living up to that promise, but I'm still trying.

So during the holidays or any day for that matter, when you see a service member be sure  to let them know that you appreciate what they have done.  Sometimes it means more than you'll ever know and it could be exactly what they need to get through.