Subject: Chaplain in Germany's Thought For the Day
Sunday, 30 March 2003
As usual I was running late. So, you can imagine my frustration level as I approached the main gate of Ramstein Air Base only to find traffic backed up! Nearing the checkpoint I realized that not only was there a long line of cars, but traffic had come to a complete stop as a result of all, entrance gates being closed. Over the past 18-months, there have been many opportunities to practice our patience as we have had to "hurry up and wait" as a result of heightened security. While we realize the necessity, it's still frustrating at times for even the most easy-going folks. This was one of those times for me! I needed to be where I was going, and I needed to be there NOW! The German soldiers, the ones manning the entrances of American military installations here in Germany, were just milling around, chatting as if those of us in line had all the time in the world.
Things seemed to go from bad to worse! The German gate guards began walking among the stopped cars, asking us to turn off our engines and headlights.
I realized that no traffic was exiting or entering the Air Base. My feelings of frustration began to turn to ones of concern. Just what was going on? A few minutes later I noticed blue lights approaching from the direction of the air terminal. Close behind were two military medical buses with their RED CROSS. Lights were on in the buses, and I.V. bags could be seen hanging. It was then that I realized that these were more of our wounded warriors being transported from the battlefields to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for treatment.
I certainly wasn't prepared for what happened next. All of the German soldiers, our gate guards, began walking toward the concrete barriers that divide the inbound and outbound lanes of traffic. As the blue lights neared, more German soldiers seemed to appear from nowhere, lining the road, shoulder to shoulder. Right on cue, without a word being spoken, these soldiers snapped a sharp salute as the buses drove pass, rendering arms until well after the last bus had passed. Needless to say, I was speechless and deeply moved. What a show of respect for fellow soldiers!
--- Soldier to Soldier, rendering honor and respect! Our allies, our comrades, those who know the price that some have to pay for freedom did not have to be asked or prompted, it came from their character and soldiering heart! May God bless and watch over all soldiers and their loved ones as they stand in harm's way for us! Blessings and Peace,
CH (COL) DAVID E. MCLEAN
CHIEF, PASTORAL SERVICES ERMC/LRMC
One more little note to this...Two AM in the morning, a single C-17 lands at Ramstein with one patient on board 19 year Pfc. Jessica Lynch, and who shows up to escort the ambulance to Landstuhl...over 100 German Politzi cars and entire Germany Army contingency assigned to Ramstein.