Friday, March 27, 2009

Thank Our Heroes

Today was a very long day. It is filed under "parenting is not for wimps". Such is life. However, there was a shining moment that I will share here.

I thanked an Airman dressed in fatigues today. It was such a treat. I don't call attention to a very simple gesture to pat myself on the back. I'm doing it to encourage you to take the same opportunity. I know, it can seem a bit awkward to walk up to a stranger and say thank you. Just get over yourself. Do it.

The setting was inside a very large comfort center off I-10 not too far outside of San Antonio. It's the kind of place where you can multi-task - fill up the gas tank, use the very clean rest rooms, and buy snacks and even nationally known fast food. Also, lots of cheesy souvenirs are available for tourists. Randolph Air Force Base is located in San Antonio. As it happens, my husband was stationed there during his stint in the Vietnam years. I didn't know him then. But, I digress. This young man was walking past me in one of the aisles loaded with snacks. I noticed the fatigues out of the corner of my eye. I turned and saw he was alone, doing what I was doing, looking for junk food. I grabbed a bag of sour cream and onion chips and went over to him. Pausing just a second, I looked up at him, into his eyes and said, "Thank you for your service." Simple as that. Five words.

Frankly, he was startled. He blinked and his smile went from ear to ear. Collecting himself, he said, "Thank you, Ma'am." Other than the fact I'm still a little sensitive about the whole "ma'am" thing, even though I am a Baby Boomer not getting any younger, my smile was fairly large, too.

President Obama has begun to release his plans to expand troops in Afghanistan. Our military and civilian forces are still in Iraq. We are in many countries around the world as keepers of the peace. Take the opportunity to step out of your own comfort zone and thank them whenever you can.

You'll feel great, too. I promise.


srp said...

Yes, we all need to do that.... I live across from an Army reservist and next to a full time Navy family. The Navy is transferring them in June and I will most definitely miss them. This is the second marriage for the wife... her first husband died in the Pentagon attack on 9/11.

As to the "parenting is not for wimps", I hope the crisis or whatever it was has passed.

Kris in New England said...

I've done that many times and it is always such a joy to see their shock turn to such pleasure that the thank you is genuine.

My mom lives 40 minutes from Bangor Airport - home of the famous Troop Greeters. She has been incredibly fortunate to be there on multiple occasions when the troops come thru - she's stood in line each time to shake their hands, give them hugs and either welcome them home or wish them godspeed as they leave the country.

Even talking about it brings tears to my eyes. Such an amazing thing.

Karen said...

You know the parenting thing, too. It doesn't stop!

Your mom is awesome. My husband travels the world with his work and often gets the chance to buy a soldier a drink or meal in an airport. Sometimes here in Houston. It's the least we can do.