Jean Aldrich (Snidow), a lovely young stewardess, was crossing the North Pacific on a Seaboard World Airlines DC-8 with 219 soldiers returning from Vietnam one night in 1969. A young soldier said, "Ma'am, may I talk to you." She said, "Certainly" as she knelt down beside his seat. He told her he had a charm that said 'good luck' in Chinese and he wanted her to have it. She told him that the charm should go to a special lady in his life but he replied that he didn't have one. She told him that he soon would because he was young, good looking and brave but he insisted that he wanted her to have it. She reluctantly accepted it, telling him that she would wear it. When she returned home in Seattle she purchased a small chain and wore it with the charm for the next 48 years.She wore when she bathed, when she went swimming, at night, when she went to formal affairs. She never took it off with the exception of having to remove it for occasional medical procedures like MRIs and X-rays.
We lost Jean to cancer in May. She refused to take off her jewelry in the hospital and when she passed away the little gold charm was the last thing I took off her. She would have liked it that way.
Somewhere (if he is still alive) a sixty five-ish Army veteran has lost an acquaintance who was loyal to him. Her husband, an old Marine, is very proud of her. She, like many of her fellow crew members went to Vietnam many dozens of times, never saw themselves as heroic, but admired the young men they carried, regardless of the personal opinion of the war.