Lawmaker gives up seat to let soldier get home

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EDGEFIELD, S.C. - An encounter in a faraway airport - and an act of generosity - has restored one Edgefield native's faith in mankind.

Zeb Blackledge: National Guard soldier finally made it home from training after a North Dakota congressman helped him.  Special
Special
Zeb Blackledge: National Guard soldier finally made it home from training after a North Dakota congressman helped him.

That's how Army National Guard Pvt. Zeb Blackledge describes what occurred to him a few weeks ago.

Pvt. Blackledge - a soldier with the 816th Engineer Company of Williston, North Dakota - was on his way home to Minot, N.D., from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he had been training. At the Minnesota/St. Paul International Airport, Northwest Airlines was having trouble with several of its flights, causing delays, when a man walked up to Pvt. Blackledge and told him he had exchanged his first-class seat for the soldier's coach seat.

"I tried to refuse," said Pvt. Blackledge, who grew up in Edgefield where his family still lives. "But he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer."

Pvt. Blackledge had no idea that the man was a prominent politician: U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, a Democrat from North Dakota.

But that flight was canceled, and when the passengers were returned to the airport. Pvt. Blackledge was booked for a flight the next night. After sleeping in the airport, he went to the ticket counter to get on standby.

At 8:30 a.m., Mr. Pomeroy - who had an 8:55 a.m. flight - again spotted Pvt. Blackledge. "Are you still here?" Pvt. Blackledge recalled the congressman saying. "We need to get you on a plane."

A few minutes later Pvt. Blackledge was called over to the ticket counter, where he was told the man had given him his ticket.

Pvt. Blackledge tried to give the ticket back but it was too late.

At that point, he said, his eyes filled with tears and he shook Mr. Pomeroy's hand, gave him a quick hug, and ran for his flight.

"I didn't find out he was a congressman until I got home," Pvt. Blackledge said. "I told my godmother someone named 'Pomeroy' had given me his seat and she figured out it was Congressman Pomeroy."

Pvt. Blackledge said the incident turned his view around on some things.

"It showed me there are still nice people in the world," he said. "He didn't know me. He was just looking out for the soldiers and the country."

Comments (29) Add comment
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lovingmom
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lovingmom 08/13/07 - 06:36 am
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Thank you Pvt. Blackledge and

Thank you Pvt. Blackledge and all of our men and women serving our country for our freedom. We should all be willing to give up our seats so they can get home. A very small repayment considering what they gave up for us. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 08/13/07 - 06:37 am
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My point of view all along is

My point of view all along is it's the leadership that's anti-military. Most of the rank and file democrats are pro-American.

pofwe
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pofwe 08/13/07 - 07:37 am
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A noble gesture for U.S. Rep.

A noble gesture for U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, to help a G.I. get home.

Yorkiemom
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Yorkiemom 08/13/07 - 09:33 am
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What a wonderful thing to do.

What a wonderful thing to do. Thank you Pvt Blackledge for serving, and Thank You U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy for your kindness.

kiddspur
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kiddspur 08/13/07 - 11:02 am
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Rep. Pomeroy showed something

Rep. Pomeroy showed something that a lot of our congressman needs to know -- care and compassion for the people they serve - a tip of the hat to him.

sjgraci
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sjgraci 08/13/07 - 11:18 am
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More liberals showing open

More liberals showing open contempt of the military and troops.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 08/13/07 - 11:34 am
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Once again, SJGRACI shows us

Once again, SJGRACI shows us what a slimeball jerk looks like.

eschamb
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eschamb 08/13/07 - 12:20 pm
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Last time I checked we are

Last time I checked we are all Americans, no party affiliation needed.

ripjones
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ripjones 08/13/07 - 12:21 pm
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SJGRACI, give it a rest. This

SJGRACI, give it a rest. This was a good and noble jesture. Get the chip off of your shoulder. There's no place here, for responses like yours.

oldcrumudgeon
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oldcrumudgeon 08/13/07 - 12:27 pm
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I must really be missing

I must really be missing something here. I've been told I'm a little to the right of Atilla the Hun; but I fail to see how a decent act of giving up your seat for a soldier can be described as "more liberals showing open contempt of the military and troops"?? I am a vietnam era Vet and we never had anyone offering a seat to a soldier then. I don't care what party Rep. Pomeroy belongs to, my hat's off to you sir.

peachykeen
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peachykeen 08/13/07 - 01:05 pm
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It is so refresing to read

It is so refresing to read good things for a change. Thanks for all involed AC included

t of i
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t of i 08/13/07 - 01:13 pm
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A story that renews faith in

A story that renews faith in human goodness.

PlayaFace
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PlayaFace 08/13/07 - 01:29 pm
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how sweet

how sweet

sjgraci
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sjgraci 08/13/07 - 01:46 pm
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Some's sarcasm meters are not

Some's sarcasm meters are not functioning properly today.

Edward1968
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Edward1968 08/13/07 - 02:27 pm
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How do we get from a story of

How do we get from a story of compassion and doing something for another's benefit to an issue of sarcasm? Is SJGRACI reading the same story the rest of us are?

WorriedAboutOurFuture
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 08/13/07 - 03:06 pm
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Got the sarcasm, SJGRACI.

Got the sarcasm, SJGRACI. Nevertheless, that you even made it shows slimeball jerkness.

t of i
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t of i 08/13/07 - 03:42 pm
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sjgraci, I love sarcasm, I

sjgraci, I love sarcasm, I think it was a question of timing here.

sjgraci
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sjgraci 08/13/07 - 04:08 pm
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For all you overly sensitive

For all you overly sensitive types- I now see that I should have put in quotes "liberals showing open contempt of the military and troops" and attrributed it to a military officer, augustalawyer, that should have known better. A little context for you when I refered augustalawyer to this article earlier today: http://augustachronicle.com/stories/081307/let_139378.shtml#82556 I'm sure you will hold augustalawyer to the same standard won't you WAOF. Or are you "once again, going to show us what a (real) slimeball jerk looks like"?

Why
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Why 08/13/07 - 04:52 pm
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Shocking that he was a

Shocking that he was a Democrat and still did this - for publicity most likely!

kiddspur
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kiddspur 08/13/07 - 04:52 pm
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sjgraci -- you look at your

sjgraci -- you look at your way and others see it their doesn't make anyone the correct party -- the gesture was good -- I had family that came home from Nam and they sure weren't offered a seat all they got was cussed and spit at!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kiddspur
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kiddspur 08/13/07 - 05:01 pm
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Don't you know Hillary is mad

Don't you know Hillary is mad because she didn't think of it first ???????

Dedicated
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Dedicated 08/13/07 - 05:04 pm
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Where is Cain's twist?

Where is Cain's twist?

Honden
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Honden 08/13/07 - 11:04 pm
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It's typically called

It's typically called "leadership" and THATS what is being displayed by the honorable congressman from N Dakota. My Hat is off to him as well.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 08/14/07 - 02:11 am
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Guy's a Democrat but from

Guy's a Democrat but from North Dakota so must be a moderate, very close to the center. A Dem from NY, New England, etc. would NEVER have given up his seat!

Dr. Pepper
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Dr. Pepper 08/14/07 - 05:35 am
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awwwwww....how sweet that he

awwwwww....how sweet that he gave up his seat........and you know what.....he got just what he wanted from it. PUBLICITY. Hoorah for the seat giver upper guy. And the moral of the story is....when you do something good make sure everyone knows about it so you can make headlines.

Chuchi
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Chuchi 08/14/07 - 06:54 am
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A good deed is its own

A good deed is its own reward. Be cynical if you like, but I don't see in the article where the politician hunted down a reporter to tell all. There usually aren't TV crews on standby in most airports. It was the soldier who reported it, and he didn't say that the congressman told him to report it. Only God can judge a man's motives for doing any deed, good or otherwise. Take this good deed at face value. Judge not, lest ye be judged...

Chuchi
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Chuchi 08/14/07 - 07:00 am
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And don't forget --- had the

And don't forget --- had the politician not given up his seat for the soldier, he would have been criticized for that. Politicians are condemned if they do and condemned if they don't.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 08/14/07 - 01:14 pm
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Which is exactly as it should

Which is exactly as it should be, ART. It shows they are representing their districts, which are going to contain all the various points of view and opinions about the issues.

kathypok
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kathypok 08/15/07 - 03:21 pm
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I know the Pomeroy family and

I know the Pomeroy family and will send this article to my mom in Valley City, ND so she can show it to Congressman Pomeroy's mom. My mom had heard about Congressman Pomeroy giving up his seat but she hadn't heard about it from the soldier's perspective and asked me to send the article to her. It made both of us proud and brought tears to our eyes. His mom will be even more proud.

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