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Last Flight, Last Prayer (Never Forget)

Updated on March 6, 2011

I’m flying home for the last time. It’s cold on the plane and I can’t seem to get warm. I’m thinking of all the times that I have flown somewhere in great anticipation – a reunion, vacation, even a business trip – and I long for those times again.

It seems so dark. The sensation of hitting turbulence doesn’t elicit the same fears from me that it used to. I’m a dead man anyway. It doesn’t really matter if the wings came off. That wouldn’t really change the reality of the situation.

I always hate these long flights over the ocean, and this one is no different. Endless, numbing hours with nothing to do. There is never enough to read, and I used to finish the book I was reading before the half way point of the flight. It's much too dark to read now, and I don't have a book anyway.

There are usually crying babies on planes, which used to annoy me. I actually wish I could hear one now. I wish I could hear something besides the whine of the jets and the wind rushing over the fuselage.

Mom will be waiting when I get there. Mom and Dad and my sister and brother and probably a few of my friends. But I’m not looking forward to seeing them this time. It just won’t be the same after all that’s happened. I don’t like to watch people cry, especially when they’re crying about me.

It’s so cold and dark. I’m tired of being trapped in here and wish I could move, but I’m numb. I can’t seem to get the events of the last few days out of my head.

There were so many RPG’s coming up that it looked like the Fourth of July. I knew we were going to get hit, and I’d been hit before, but my guardian angel always had my back. Not this time. I just remember the sound and the fire and the screams. And then the silence. The silence was the worst thing of all.

And the silence continues.

I always said I would give everything I had, and I did. But now everybody else has to pick up the pieces without me. I hope they can do it. That’s the last thing I remember praying – “God, help them get through this.”

And now I’m flying back home in this box. I knew deep in my gut somehow that I wouldn’t make it out alive. I would do it all again if I could, but I can’t. But there are others who will - maybe even my sons.

My prayer now has changed.

Now I pray “God, don’t let them forget me. No matter how they feel about what I’ve done or why I did it, don’t let them forget me.”

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    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Jaye - thanks so very much. Catching up on my responses. Sorry it took so long.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      7 years ago from Deep South, USA

      You are truly a magnificent writer, Stan, to make one who hates war feel so much compassion for the brave soldiers who either give their all or are willing to do so. Such bravery deserves an awesome tribute, and you did it so well.

      JAYE

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Vocalcoach - I've had several comments since I've been here that made my day, but yours might have just moved to the top of the list. You said things that I want desperately to be true. I really want to do this for my livelihood...... Thank you so much....

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      You have been blessed, Stan, with a great gift. Equally important, you share this gift with others. Lives are changed, for the better, as one engages in the flow of the words...the acceleration of emotion, and the imagery of a master artist as he sweeps colors across the canvas. You begin with an empty page staring at you, then transform the emptiness into a birthing as you give life to the page. God bless you Stan. Your brave, young soldier will never be forgotten. Neither will you! Love, your friend - vocalcoach

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Real - thank you.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thank you! He is doing great! We keep tabs by facebook. Thank goodness for that. This was just such a nice tribute and I appreciate your raising awareness. No joke.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Crysto - and thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Ang - thank you. We can never forget.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      JR - I'll always write mostly humor. This one came out of nowhere. Thanks for reading.....

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Motown - no words necessary. Thank you for reading.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      tebo - thank you. I'm glad the point got across.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Genna - thank you. Glad you felt what I was trying to say.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Real - here's hoping he remains safe. We all thank him for his service.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 

      7 years ago from Houston TX

      powerful hub,thanks for sharing.

    • AngRose profile image

      AngRose 

      7 years ago

      They will never be forgotten Stan, not by the people that loved them, and not by those that honor them like you've done with this hub.

    • jrsearam profile image

      jrsearam 

      7 years ago from San Juan, PR

      Chilling and disturbing Stan. Jesus Christ I hope it's not like that. Death I mean. Anyway, between this, your legalization hub and your new profile pic, I'm starting to worry that you're getting a little too serious. Please make me laugh again Stan....your friend, JR

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 

      7 years ago

      Priceless, Stan. Anything else will sound redundant or cliche.

    • profile image

      tebo 

      7 years ago

      I had numerous shivers reading this and a tingly head. Lovely, thanks Stan.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Intriging, human and compelling. Your words serve us well, as usual, Stan. Kudos!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Stan - thank you for this. I have a nephew that is only 20 and he is in Korea - M.P.. So young, I worry for him each day.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      FiFi - thank you...

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Jeremey - thanks a lot J. I appreciate it.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Caramus - thank you my friend. Nothing needs to be said.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Lorlie - thank you sweetie....

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Sligo - thanks for your words. I'm glad you were on the journey with me.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Someway - so true. Today is all we have.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Amy - thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Wayne - thank you. I thought of you several times as I wrote it, knowing you would 'get it'. I'm also glad you couldn't figure out the situation until the end. I wanted that to be a surprise.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Merlin - saw a picture of a coffin. Thought about a soldier speaking from the other side and what they would say. Thank you for reading.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Angie - thank you. I'm glad to see you here.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Pdog - thank you. Silence is totally appropriate.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Austin - Thanks for not forgetting that some gave all.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Real - thank you.....

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      attempted - thank you very much...

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Chris - thank you. I really appreciate it.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Truckstop - couldn't agree more.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Laurie - glad to paint a picture for you. Thanks for reading.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      DRBJ - thanks. I want to do more serious stuff in the days ahead.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Martie - thanks for your comment.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      aca - thank you very much.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Brie - thank you very much. You are very kind.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Pooh - thank you. Nobody wants to be forgotten.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Bpop - these guys and girls deserve our utmost gratitude and respect.

    • Stan Fletcher profile imageAUTHOR

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Christopher - thank you sir. I appreciate it....

    • fi fi profile image

      fi fi 

      7 years ago from Niagara, Canada

      A powerful tribute.

    • Jeremey profile image

      Jeremey 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Best perspective ever imagined on such a story. Just Awesome.

    • Caramus profile image

      Caramus 

      7 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Speechless.....

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Beautiful, Stan.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 

      7 years ago from east of the equator

      Well done Stan. Concise with a precision of words and a theme that was hauntingly delivered. Poetry is not far beyond with a write like this. You are a terrific humorist but you have found a greater value in your writng skills now as a humanist. I felt the chill and isolation as we flew together and the'wind blew over the fuselage'. Bravo!

    • SomewayOuttaHere profile image

      SomewayOuttaHere 

      7 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

      ...good one!....no time for tomorrow...

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Unique in your concept, told from the one in the box, held me captive, in suspended animation in the reading. Profound, hardhitting reality from a voice that families must imagine everyday in the loss of a loved one coming home from a war for the last time. Stark, raw, powerful and enriching, Stan.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      This is well done, Stan. You kept me intrigued as to the purpose of the flight from the start. I was guessing in slot of directions but never did I think in terms of the way it came out. This speaks for those who have paid the ultimate price. It reminds me that maybe we should all be out there to meet that casket and every other one making that final trip. No one goes to war thinking they won' survive but reality makes it's choices. I rate it up and awesome. I really glad to see you working this area, for I truly believe that you have awareness and understanding of people to write with strong emotion. So glad you did this one! WB

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 

      7 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Hell Stan, Where did this come from ?

      Like so many of your fans I shouldn't let myself be surprised at what comes from that great mind of yours.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      7 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Not just clever but also moving.

      Not just in awe of your writing but also of your spirituality.

      Bless you, Stan. x

    • psychicdog.net profile image

      psychicdog.net 

      7 years ago

      I dont know what to say...kind regards from me Stan.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 

      7 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      I totally hate war! I hate the destruction of life. I hate that bodies come back dressed in flags. It's probably the only thing in the world that marks us as ignorant animals. I cannot forget these men and women. They are part of me, part of life, the universe and everything.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Up/awesome:-)

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Well Stan, we shouldn't be too surprised, because we know you are a fine writer, but this little gem speaks volumes for what those heroic young men and women sacrifice on our behalf. Unbelievable!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Stan,

      Poingnant. Powerful.

      Great Hub,

      Respect due,

      C

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      You are right - we can't forget those who serve (or have served) our country. They are our true heroes!

    • LaurieDawn profile image

      LaurieDawn 

      7 years ago

      I know this is going to sound cliche Stan, but that piece you wrote was touching and heart-breaking, but it brought a picture to mind. Alas also tears for all those that have lost the war with their sacrifice. Awesome piece and what a great tribute.

      Blessings and hugs,

      Laurie

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      This is a writing side of you, Stan, I don't believe I've seen or read before and I commend you for being such a fine, serious storyteller. Beautiful, my friend.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Absolutely heart-touching... and thought-provoking. Today, and every day of our lives, we can make sure that our loved-ones remember us with the wish we were still with them, and not with a sigh of relief because we are forever out of their lives.

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 

      7 years ago from Guildford

      Such a moving piece of writing, it reminds us all of the sacrifices made. Voting up and pressing those tabs.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      You are a great writer.

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 

      7 years ago from On the edge

      I know I won't forget. We need to be reminded from time to time about the incredible sacrifice that is being made as we sit comfortably in our world. You have made an imprint on my mind that will stay for a long time.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      7 years ago

      Stan, this piece was so moving and hauntingly beautiful. Voted up awesome and beauiiful.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      That was a truly awesome hub Stan, and it just goes to show that you are a truly awesome writer.

      To say so much, so well, in so few words, shows a really superior writing talent.

      Thank you for that.

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