I must be on some kind of "Love My Country" kick here. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but if something unexpected ever happens to me, at least my kids will know I was a patriotic soul. (Yes, I am grinning as I type that.)
So.....when is the last time you thanked a service member or veteran for their service to your country? Seriously. When is the last time you walked up to someone and just said, "Thank you for your service to the United States (or insert your country's name here)."? I can count at least three times in the past two weeks I've done this.
I love the older veterans. Just love them. They're usually men who wear those ball caps proudly that states they are retired Navy/Army/Air Force/Marine across the top. Some say Korean Veteran, or Vietnam Veteran or something to that effect. Since we live in a military town, I come across alot of them when I'm on post/base or out shopping.
For example, this past summer, I took Paige and her friend Tina to the bus stop in the mornings to catch the bus to summer school. One morning, we took Prissy to the groomer before going to the bus. As Tina and I were waiting for Paige to come back out, I saw this elderly gentleman coming out of the groomer and shuffling to his truck parked on my passenger side. I noticed his hat that boasted he was a Korean Veteran. I rolled down the window as he came around the front of my truck and said, "Sir!?! Excuse me, Sir?" He walked over to the window and I stuck my hand out across the empty passenger seat and said, "Sir, I'd like to thank you for your service to our country! I really appreciate your sacrifice." He was speechless for a second and the biggest smile broke out across his face. He took the next few minutes to tell me a little of his enlistment and some of the things he encountered. I listened with respect, shook his hand again, and wished him a blessed day. He got in his truck and from the back seat behind me, I heard Tina say, "Miss Hope, that was just cool." I shrugged and told her it was the least I could do. (Her dad is active duty Army.)
This past week I was at our local W*lmart when an elderly gentleman, in his snazzy personal scooter, was going by me. He was trying to reach for something on the shelf and I gladly handed it to him. He thanked me profusely and I said, "Oh, Sir, it was my pleasure and I thank you for your service to our country!" (He had one of those cool ball caps on, too.) He grinned so big and said at least three times, "Thank you!" . Now, I ask you, how hard is that to do?
Yesterday, I took the girls to the dentist. As I sat in the waiting room reading a magazine, I saw a lady sit down. I was thrilled to see her wearing blue digi's (that would be blue camouflage battle dress uniform). Yeah, boy, I do love to see a woman in uniform! Girl Power! I saw the anchors on her collar (GO NAVY!) and just couldn't help myself. I said, "I can't see from here... are you a Chief or Senior Chief?" She told she was a Chief and there the conversation started. She just made Chief this past year and was settling into her new job duties. I got to hear how she is a translator who speaks Arabic and how she is a single Mom making it work in the military. We had a great conversation and when it was time for me to go back to get the report on my girls, I shook her hand and told her I surely appreciated all her hard work and her service to our country.
(These are just a few examples. My kids will tell you I do this on a regular basis.)
Just in case you didn't know, being in the military is hard job. I promise the pay isn't that great, but we are fortunate that we have people who love their country. My own husband only joined the Navy to serve one term and utilize the G.I. Bill. Nothing wrong with that, either. Little did he know he would love his job so much that he would stick it out for twenty years!
I'm not saying I approach everyone I see and thank them. I'd never get any shopping done on post/base if I did that! I do try and make the extra effort when I see the older generations. My Daddy served in Vietnam. Those who served there weren't really welcomed back with open arms. People tend to forget that these boys were DRAFTED. They weren't given the choice at that time. Now, he's starting to suffer some repercussions from that experience from his youth. I love that man with all my heart and I hate to see him suffer in any way shape or form. Even though he only served what he was required, I know he loves this country deeply and would do what was required of him all over again.
I know many of you reading this don't see veterans on a regular basis. Maybe you do and you don't know it? Veteran's Day is coming up and many schools recognize this day. Please, if you have family members who have served our country? Thank them! Share with your children or nieces and nephews the great people in their lives.
Thanking someone is an easy and simple thing to do. Who knows? You could make someone's day/week/month by taking just a few minutes to stop or call and just say "Thanks."
Now, I have to go clean some house because The Man, my own personal veteran, will be coming home for the weekend from his class up North. I believe I'll tell him Thank You yet again!