Thursday, April 19, 2007
Witnessing A Dream Come True
Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to witness a dream come true for a most deserving little boy.
As most of you know, I work on a military base. Earlier in the week the entire base received an email announcement that we’d have a very special guest at our unit.
Dominic, a six year old with terminal leukemia, had always dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. Through the Make a Wish Foundation, his wish was granted yesterday and the entire base was invited to his pinning ceremony.
When I arrived at the designated location, about 10 minutes early, I found the room filled to overflowing with military members in fatigues and flight suites and a scattering of government contractors in civilian clothing. Excited chatter circulated the room as we all waited for Dominic’s arrival.
Little Dominic arrived in style, riding atop the base fire engine, sirens blasting across the flight line. He slowly walked through the crowd to the front of the room. He was dressed in a children's sized flight suite, displaying the base patches and a patch with his name on it. He had on a too-big fire station cap on and his shining eyes were peeking out from beneath the brim.
Dominic was placed on a pedestal, military personal flanking either side, his family seated in front of him. Attention to orders was called and after a list of Dominic’s achievements were read aloud (i.e. completion of honorary flight course, shooting down 3 planes and a perfect landing during simulated training, etc.) he was awarded with the honorary rank of 2nd Lieutenant and his flight suite was pinned. A navy blue flight cap was placed on his head. He stood tall and proud throughout it all!
We learned that, not only did Dominic receive pilot training, tour the base fire station, and ride on the fire truck, but he also was taken up for a brief ride in a B-17 plane and he spent time exploring the insides of an A-10 plane. The pilots dubbed him with a call sign of “Magnum”.
During the ceremony, Dominic was presented with numerous gifts: various military patches, squadron coins, framed certificates, military caps, a stuffed bear dressed in fatigues, and a cake that said, “Congratulations Lt. Dominic”.
Although quiet and shy in the midst of such a large crowd, joy and excitement lit up his face and made his eyes sparkle.
The ceremony ended and Dominic was escorted out to the flight line where an F-16 jet awaited. The maintenance crew had put his name on the jet and the cockpit was open and waiting. One of the pilots climbed up into it and Dominic was handed up to him. Dominic sat on the pilot’s lap and watched attentively as the jet was hooked up to a special towing truck. He was taxied away for a ride around the base flight line. We smiled at him and waved our goodbyes.
My eyes, and the eyes of many around me, glistened with tears as I gazed at this precious soul and realized he wouldn’t be on this earth much longer. My heart filled with gladness that at least his dream had come true and his family was there to witness his happiness! I was honored to be able to witness it as well.