Welcome Home Heroes

October 1, 2007 by Kailani  
Filed under flight attendant stories

In the past, I’ve worked many flights where soldiers were leaving their loved ones behind as they go off to fight in the war. Needless to say, these were very emotional and tear-filled flights. It would always break my heart to see all these young heroes venturing into the unknown.

So for me, yesterday was a great day as we were fortunate to have a group of about 50 soldiers returning home to the islands after serving for a year in Iraq.

These were all “local” boys from Hawaii, some as young as 18 years old. You should have seen their smiling faces as they boarded the aircraft. One soldier even commented on how he couldn’t believe he was going home.

During the flight, a passenger decided to take up a collection from other passengers so that the troop could buy drinks, headsets, and snacks. He only got up to row 9 and had already collected $400! The generosity of the people amazed me. And when we finally landed on Oahu, the passengers all stayed in their seats and let the soldiers deplane first, giving them a standing ovation along the way.

It was a touching moment that I’ll never forget.


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About the author:
Kailani is the owner and founder of An Island Life. You'll find her sharing her daily life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii. She is also the founder of the group review site - Family Review Network. Follow along on her adventure of a lifetime this Winter as a member of the Vaseline Dry Skin Patrol!
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45 Responses to “Welcome Home Heroes”
  1. Sheila says:

    Very touching! I’m so glad that the passengers took up a collection. I wish I could have contributed!

  2. Stacey says:

    Kailani, thanks for this–what fortune you had to be there, no doubt. There is hope for us all afterall! xoxo

  3. Kim says:

    What a beautiful experience. I would have been crying at that one. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Crissybug says:

    I haven’t had anything like that happen on my flights. That had to be amazing. You are lucky to have witnessed such generosity and respect. It seems it is harder to come by these days.

  5. donetta says:

    Oh Honey that must of been holy! How awesome to see the better side of mankind.

  6. Pamela says:

    gave me chills. Kids.. most of them. Growing up fast.
    So good to hear your passengers were being generous and full of encouragement,
    instead of mile high in the potty and stealing your personal snacks!

  7. Desert Songbird says:

    I’d be hard pressed not to weep at the sight of these soldiers. Truth be told, I got weepy reading this post.

    I pray for my nephew’s safety every day and hope he’ll return soon.

  8. Alice says:

    That is a beautiful story. I’m so glad that there are people out there still seeing the troops as people and not merely tools of war. Welcome home!

  9. Amanda says:

    Makes my eyes tear up a little. I have a friend whose husband was in the service. A few nights before they came home, the wives went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate, each one wearing her husband’s name on the shirt. At the end of the meal, Darcey went up to pay. Come to find out — several couples had already pitched in to pay for it as their way of saying THANK YOU for their own personal sacrifice and that of their military husbands. I heard that story and cried. Your story is moving, too. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Lissete says:

    This story totally made me cry. Very heartwarmimg.

  11. Emma says:

    Beautiful story, Kailani. We’ve got a history of treating our returned servicepeople badly in Australia, so this is an inspiring view into what is hopefully the future for the way these brave people are seen everywhere.

  12. Grace says:

    I am sure the soldiers went home happier! Great story.

  13. homemom3 says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

  14. Carey says:

    Thats so awesome! Peolpe really can show they care when they come together under one place. Thanks for sharing

  15. groovyoldlady says:

    I think folks really learned from Vietnam. My son has not done any wartime service yet, but people shake his hand, pay for his meals out, wave to him, and thank him for serving in the Army.

    It’s awesome how people have risen up to support the troops, even if they don’t necessarily support the war effort.

  16. Pass the Torch says:

    That is SOOO cool. What an amazing thing — thanks for telling us about it. It’s great to hear good news like this!

  17. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    I love this story, Kahlani. Living in San Diego for 10 years — the largest military city in America and very pro-troops — I saw this kind of thing often. I miss it, now that I’m back in the Midwest.

    Thanks for sharing.

  18. Maribeth says:

    Thanks for sharing this. After the news of the last few days of what they put the troops through in San Francisco, it’s nice to know that there are good people around to support our troops.

  19. Dana says:

    That is a really cool story. Thank you for sharing. Love stuff like that. Being a formal Army wife…that stuff gets to me like nothing else :)

  20. Pickel says:

    How great that a plane full of people would allow those soldiers to be the first ones off…to see their families first. What an image to those in the gate.

  21. La Bellina Mammina says:

    What a great and touching post – I wish I was on that plane! Thanks for sharing this :-)

  22. Wendy says:

    Are these the soldiers that came out of Oakland?

  23. NYCWD says:

    That’s just awesome.

  24. Tonya says:

    Love this story!! When our local troops were deployed we went and stood on the side of the main highway (with half of our town) and showed our gratitude to our soldiers. My family is full of service men. I’m happy to hear that while not all agree or disagree with the war we can all still show our troops that we support THEM, as they have no choice about going.

  25. Tammy says:

    This absolutely made my day, Kailani! How blessed they were- along with you and everyone else that got to be a part of this!

  26. Vail says:

    LOVE IT! Wish I had been there!

  27. Christine says:

    Very touching post Kailani. I’m having a hard time holding back the tears. That is truly wonderful to see such generosity and kindness. I can almost picture the smile on the soldiers face at the thought of coming HOME!!

  28. Karmyn R says:

    that warms my heart.

  29. JessicaK says:

    Oh, what a beautiful tribute to those soldiers. I bet that spontaneous kindness meant more to them than any speech or award. It’s great you got to see it.

  30. Vader's Mom says:

    Just amazing! Now I need to go find a tissue to dry my eyes…

  31. Judy says:

    That was so neat to hear. My son will be returning to Hawaii sometime this month from Iraq. It would be just way too cool if he were on your flight sometime. (of course, he better NOT have been one of those… cause if he were back in the States and hadn’t called him Mama yet… well, let me tell you.. it just wouldn’t be pretty!!!)

  32. Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says:

    I love stories like this!!

    We have a dear friend over in Iraq right now. (his 2nd tour)

    My brother may be heading back for his 2nd one soon.

  33. Wendy (MomLady) says:

    It’s so good to hear that some people are still supporting our troops in such a genuine, heartfelt way. Thanks for sharing that.

  34. Susie aka Mayangel523 says:

    That is a wonderful story! My 19-year-old stepson is stationed at Ft. Bliss and has been training in Hawaii the last few months. There are times I wish I could be there with him (okay for selfish reasons!). I know it is possible for him to be deployed at any time. I am always thankful to the wonderful people in this country who appreciate our military personnel.

  35. Waya says:

    That was a very touching post Kailani! I got teary eyed reading it!

  36. lulu says:

    That is so awesome! How lucky you were to be on that flight!

  37. chesca (exskindiver) says:

    wow, that was a beautiful story.
    brought tears to my eyes.
    it is nice to hear about the goodness of people in this day and age when all that gets reported about is craziness and rudeness.
    thanks for sharing.

  38. momto3cubs says:

    Are they the same soldiers that traveled through Oakland and were treated so badly?

    Welcome home, guys, and thank you!

  39. Pinkjagxj says:

    That is such an inspirational story. Thank you so much for sharing.

  40. Amy says:

    Okay, you got me crying now. It’s so nice to hear something good for a change! I’m glad you got to witness it.

  41. Jennifer in OR says:

    I love this – what a blessing to be witness to this scene. I’m so glad the passengers showed love and generosity.

  42. Romie says:

    I love it when people remember kindness, appreciation for bravery and love for their fellow men – always brings tears to my eyes.

  43. donetta says:

    I voted for you today!

  44. Li'l Foot's Mommy says:

    Wow!!! That is an awesome entry. I have to admit I got choked up, might’ve even cried a bit.

    Just found your blog, and I’m enjoying it. Thank you!


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