Sunday, March 15, 2009

Real Respect for USWar Fatalities 

One of the greatest, taken-for-granted, aspects of a free society, is the ability to think "outside the box." We just assume that we can as in "How" (can we do ____ better)? or "Why" (do we do ____ this way)? two of the most defining words in the English language.

A recent example, in the Star Tribune, is that of Eric Besvold, a worker on the baggage ramp for NWA in Minneapolis. What he saw bothered him - soldier caskets were treated like other baggage. "Why do we do this? There has to be a better way. This just isn't right." After working up the ranks within the airlines during the summer of 2006, Eric was able to order a special cart to be used only for transporting deceased soldiers. He decorated it with magnetic military emblems and American flags.

Besvold is a 3rd-generation Navy man who served in Kuwait in 2005 and has taught nearly 50 fellow ramp employees the correct procedures for honoring military dead. The process is documented so all steps are properly performed. All soldier remains are treated with respect.

In addition, all military escorts are offered free soda, coffee and food in the Worldperks Club when they have to wait for subsequent flights.

"This was a very easy thing for us to support," said Bill Lentsch, senior VP of flight operations. "These soldiers fought for our country and deserve our respect."

Mr. Besvold epitomizes what Americans do: See a problem or situation that appears wrong, study it, then do something about it. Thank you, Eric!

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