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One afternoon author Patsy Clairmont found herself on an airplane, sitting next to a young man. She writes, “I had already observed something about this young man when I was being seated. He called me “Ma’am.” At the time I thought, ‘Either he thinks I’m ancient, or he’s from the South where they still teach manners, or he’s in the service.’

I decided the latter was the most likely, so I asked, “You in the service?” “Yes, Ma’am, I am.” “What branch?” “Marines.” “Hey, Marine, where are you coming from?” “Operation Desert Storm, Ma’am.” “No kidding? Desert Storm! How long were you there?” I asked. “A year and a half. I’m on my way home. My family will be at the airport.”

I then commented that he must have thought about returning to his family and home many times while he was in the Middle East. “Oh, no, Ma’am,” he replied. “We were taught never to think of what might never be, but to be fully available right where we were.”

Focus on the Family, July, 1993, p. 5