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Send hugs to men and women in armed services

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By Rosemary Whitlock

Someone shared the following incident with me. I do not know where the story originated. It tugged at my heartstrings as I’m sure it will yours.

A man was waiting in an airport for a flight that was on delay. While he was drinking a cup of coffee and feeling irritable, his attention was drawn to a group of soldiers entering the snack bar.

This group was made up of mostly male soldiers with a few female soldiers. They were talking among themselves about Afghanistan, this being the first leg of their journey to that land.

They spoke of President Barack Obama’s speech the day before on Patriot Day, Sept. 11. In that speech. President Obama had said that Afghanistans are 70 percent illiterate. And the second poorest country in the world.

A little girl with blond curls, looking to be about 5 years old, was seated nearby with her mother. She appeared to be listening intently to the soldiers’ remarks.

Suddenly, the little girl jumped up and ran to one of the soldiers. She tugged at his belt to get his attention. He turned and looked down at her.

She said, “Please, Mr. Soldier, will you take something to my Daddy for me?”

The young soldier dropped to one knee and smiled at the little girl as he asked, “What is it you want me to give to your dad?”

The little girl clasped her arms around the soldier’s neck and kissed him on his cheek.

The girl’s mother began to explain that her husband, the child’s father, was a soldier serving in Afghanistan.

She said their little girl was having difficulty trying to understand why her daddy couldn’t come home. The women soldiers began to wipe at their tears as they listened.

The kneeling soldier pulled out his GoPhone and began to punch buttons on it. After a few moments, the soldier said, “Your dad can’t talk right now, but he put a message on my phone for you. The message says to you, ‘Your daddy loves you, little angel.’ “

The soldier rose to his feet. He and the rest of his troop saluted the little girl as they turned and headed for their loading gate. The people standing nearby began to applaud the soldiers.

Our men and women of the armed forces go wherever they are needed, often into the face of danger, not only of explosive materials, but from the environment and diseases of other countries. They do it willingly to safeguard America.

We all need to lift our voices to God, and on the wings of our prayers, send a great big hug to all our men and women in the armed forces.