\nThe Most Important Person I Never Met\nI remember the flight was exceptionally beautiful that night.\nFlying out of San Diego on a redeye, as I had many times before, there was nothing unusual. We flew out over the Pacific, banked and rose higher. By the time we reached our cruising altitude, the lights of California's biggest cities were fading.\nSomewhere over Southern Oklahoma, I woke up to the most amazing mushroom cloud with lightning flying around inside it like confetti. \nAs I dozed back off, we cruised into Atlanta just shy of 5am local time.\nNormally, the doors open up relatively quickly on a flight that arrives so early. There's no waiting for any ground crew who might be tied up with another aircraft, because you're the only ones there.\nBut this flight was different.\nMy fellow passengers and I were growing rowdy, and that's when I saw it-- The Honor Guard and two fire trucks were pulling up to our cargo hold with their lights flashing.\nI heard the click of the pilot's intercom, and a few seconds later, he cleared his voice. Then he let us know that we were on a very special flight, and had the privilege of accompanying "Lieutenant Katrina" on her final flight home.\nShe had passed away while serving in Afghanistan. \nThey carefully placed her flag-draped coffin onto the trolley specially built for this purpose. I looked away towards the glass that in just an hour or so, would house hundreds of passengers waiting to board this very plane. But right now, this boarding area was empty, save for a a few figures, faces pressed against the glass. \nThat's when I started to choke up-- it must have been her family. They were gone by the time I made my way to the terminal, so I can never be sure.\nI tried to look her up later, and to find out more details about her life. I've always pictured her as a pretty black woman about my age at the time, with neat hair and a smiling military portrait instead of the coffin I saw that morning.\nI never learned anything more about her. I don't know who she was friends with on Facebook, or if she preferred margs or beer, but at least I know the most important thing about her: she gave the ultimate sacrifice and it will never be forgotten.\nIt's always been hard for me to talk about these moments I shared with a total stranger, and how powerful it was.\nIt's always affected me in a way that makes me very emotional. The motto hand-painted on the back of the Honor Guard best sums up the feeling with it's aptly lettered, "All gave some. Some gave all."\nWhat the US Military Means to Me\nOne area we've been severely lacking in here at The Contract Shop® is our support of the United States military. \nToday, we're fixing that.\nI grew up as the daughter of a commissioned Army Officer of the 75th Ranger Regiment out of Fort Benning, Georgia. \nWhile I don't remember my Dad's military career-- he was in the Reserves by the time I was born-- I've always been proud of his achievements and service.\nNow that I'm dating an active duty service member, it's become clear the type of consistent sacrifices our military members make every day.\nTheir job comes first, even before their relationships. They don't get the luxury of many things civilians enjoy, like weekends off or complaining about their boss.\nIronically, the most American Americans don't get to live a typical "American lifestyle."\nBut, from the active duty military I've gotten to know, most of them are incredibly proud of what they're doing and the people they're working with.\nSeeing firsthand the sacrifices our active duty and veteran service members make, I wanted to help out in whatever small way I could.\nThat's why I created a significant, permanent discount for these service members and their families. If I can help one active or former service member grow a business, or support one military spouse as he or she creates a location-independent lifestyle to move with their service member's permanent change of station (PCS), then I consider this new program a huge success!\nAbout the Military Discount\nTo our US-based active duty service members, veterans and the family members that support(ed) their efforts: we appreciate you today, and every day.If you are a US-based active duty service member, dependent or veteran, we now have a discount program available to you here at The Contract Shop®.\nYou can click here to register for your military discount.\nOur military discount entitles all active duty service members, their dependents and veterans who are retired from US military to get 30% off their purchase anytime they need it. \n10% of Military Purchases are Donated to Carry the Load\nWhen you make a purchase with your military discount, we will donate 10% of your total purchase to the Dallas-based Carry the Load organization.This non-profit association is dedicated to restoring the true meaning of Memorial Day.They do this by educating civilians about the sacrifices of our US military, and supporting wounded warriors who need additional resources after their service for our country.You can click here to learn more about Carry the Load.\nGold Star families get their purchase for free, every day, always.\nIf you are an immediate family member in a Gold Star family, we are here to help you in whatever small way we can. Gold Star families are those who have suffered the loss of a loved one in the line of duty. If you are a member of a Gold Star family and would like to take advantage of this benefit, please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll take it from there.\nThese benefits are retroactive.\nIf you've made a purchase in the past year, we are happy to retroactively apply your military discount if you qualified for it at the time of purchase. Unfortunately, we cannot combine your military discount with previously applied discounts.Just email us at email@example.com so we can take care of this for you.