Pukey sentimental hoax or real event?

Gill forwarded me the following email and wrote in the subject line, "pukey sentimental hoax (I hope it's not real)."

Will you give this to my Daddy?
Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.
When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.
Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.'
The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.
The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.
When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other service men pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.
After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.
As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

This one has been going around for a couple of years. Snopes covered it back in 2006, listing it as undetermined. They note that two additional versions of the story have been spotted in circulation -- one placing the touching scene in Trenton, Ontario, the other in Melbourne, Australia. Snopes suggests that the Atlanta version is probably the original, and this is almost certainly correct.

When I first read the email, I had the same reaction as Gill. It's over-the-top schmaltz. It's too corny to be real. But now I'm not so sure.

It turns out that the Atlanta airport has a tradition of applauding the troops. I don't know if it still happens, but as late as 2007 it definitely was. Youtube has plenty of videos of troops being applauded at the Atlanta airport. The description attached to one of these videos notes that, "Several times a day the Atlanta airport gives thanks to the troops that are protecting our freedom as they march through the terminal."

The Atlanta tradition even inspired the famous Anheuser-Busch "Applause" ad that aired during the 2005 Super Bowl and the 2005 Daytona 500.

So given that the part about applauding the troops at the Atlanta airport checks out, it's not that implausible that the Courtney scene might have occurred. Yeah, it could be the invention of someone who had seen the Anheuser-Busch ad, but I'd say the probability of the scene being real is pretty good. Of course, that makes it no less cloyingly sentimental.


Posted on Wed Jun 04, 2008


@ D F Stucky

Your tunnel vision and bias are exceeded only by your condescension.

There is truth in everything you say, but you rely on a narrow part of one end of the human behaviour spectrum for your illustrations. You display the very characteristics you decry.

Your propensity to stereotype lends little to your arguments but hints at a disturbed point of view.

Fortunately for all of us, most people - military included - don't indulge in your obnoxious way of making your point, so the perpetrators of the My Lais of the world are far outweighed by the selfless behaviour of the majority.

It intrigues me that people like yourself find it acceptable to be so aggressive and abusive when hiding behind a keyboard. I suspect that they're close kin to less desirable of those who hide behind the guns. Perhaps Lt Calley had a lot in common with you.

When I said, "Open your eyes" I meant both of them.

I shall not continue this dialogue - I find you a vexation to the soul. And we has-beens need our afternoon naps.
Posted by Alan Henderson  in  Whanganui, New Zealand  on  Wed Apr 22, 2009  at  06:35 PM
Let's examine this one -

"@D F Stucky"

Cannot even read my name and spell it correctly? Who's got the vision problem here?

"Your tunnel vision and bias . . . "

I think you mean focus and dedication to the truth and my beliefs . . . At least to admit I am correct in my facts, which means there is hope for you yet.

as for balancing massacres against so-called progress, let me remind you of the words "There can be no scientific progress in the world as long as one child cries ." Or are you disparaging Albert Einstein now?

"Your propensity to stereotype . . . hints at a disturbed point of view"

Cutting through the rhetoric, you are saying that because I stereotype I must be mentally ill, because all mentally disturbed people do that. The paradox enclosed in that is almost outweighed by the irony of your resorting to insults and personal abuse about my mental state, which strangely enough is what you accuse *me* of elswhere. Perhaps you find me so 'vexatious' due to my possession of features you yourself have and are ashamed of possessing?

Being aggressive and abusive behind a keyboard is I would submit far better than doing so behind a weapon, and that you have done far worse to your fellow human beings than I ever have. Unless you believe that I am 'unmanly' for my actions here - and if so, you insult me far further than before with your assumptions about gender, or later by comparing me to a mindless obedient killing machine ( Or "man, same difference ) like Lt. Calley. In any event, I consider myself to be far superior in that I have stuck to facts and not descended to name-calling and personal attacks.

And in waht portion of our discussion did I refer to you as a 'has-been'? Unless this is your way of acknowledging that the days of soldiers are over. In which case, i am gla dthat you have finally come araound to my way of thinking, which of course is the correct one.
Posted by D F Stuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Wed Apr 22, 2009  at  08:01 PM
I have seen enough of the behavior of young US military personnel to know that this story is not in the least implausible. Whether this specific event took place or not is, I suppose, a legitimate topic of debate, but the urbane sophistication so conspicuously displayed by those who would ridicule these sentiments serves the principal function, I believe, of blurring the sharp and unflattering distinction they must perceive as clearly as the rest of us, between such soldiers and themselves.
Posted by Dick DeLoach  in  Hampton, VA  on  Sun May 03, 2009  at  03:34 PM
I'm on the UK & have just been invited to join a face book group in support of our troops, (which I wholeheartedly do) the story is almost word for word except that it apparently happened in an airport in London with returning UK based soldiers.

Unfortunately, it would seem to be a hoax, or at the very least a 'chinese whispered' story.

I applaud the sentiment & support though.
Posted by Mandy  in  Oxford UK  on  Fri May 22, 2009  at  04:53 AM
I know this is old but I'm answering anyway seeing as I have not noticed anyone mentioning what I know as an Atlanta resident. There is a USO chapter stationed IN the Hartsfield-Jackson (Atlanta international) airport. I am at the HJ airport at least once every three months or so as I travel often for work. I have stood up for returning service members often. There have been times when I could not see them walking in, but could hear the crowd applauding their arrival. When this happens, people generally stop what they are doing and show respect by clapping. It's a habit at this airport and one that we feel is very important. This is highly likely to be true. HIGHLY likely.
Posted by atlresident  in  atlanta  on  Fri Mar 12, 2010  at  06:11 AM
What a goggle story. I think the story sounds a bit enhanced to me. And also this story is may change on our society. So put that in your generalization and smoke it. Thanks!
Posted by Fred Nathan  on  Sat Mar 19, 2011  at  06:27 AM
There is no way this happened in Melbourne, Australia.
Posted by Alan  in  Australia  on  Sat Mar 24, 2012  at  11:34 PM
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