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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Genuine Thanks

This next Wednesday is a day we set aside as a day to honor and thank veterans.  Every time I drive into Ft. Garland or Alamosa, CO., I see a park off the side of the highway with a T-33 jet fighter mounted on a post and flags and a monument that is called Veterans Park.  Those who live in Costilla County and have served our country have their names chiseled into that granite block. Many of those listed on that block of granite have passed away but many (like myself) who have their names on that monument are still alive.  Every time I drive past that park I reflect on those who have served our country and flag and given their all. They have given part of their life, all of their life or parts of their bodies for our freedom. Regardless of which branch they served all share a common brotherhood or sisterhood. We gave a part of our lives to serve our country and preserve our way of life and our freedoms.

I sometimes wonder how sincere those platitudes really are that say  "Thanks for your service", Do they really understand that many someone's were out in the mud, rain, heat, cold, wind and other miserable conditions day after day and some who gave their very lives and died for people like us who they did not even know but sacrificed and gave their lives for so we could live free. Are these thanks just said by rote or do they really feel thankful in their hearts? Do they realize that they live side by side, work with, worship with, socialize with, circulate with veterans whom they really do not acknowledge or greet. Is "Thanks for your service", real and heart felt or is it just a common comment? At least when I served my 8 years during Viet Nam they spit on us, called us names and blamed us for a war we did not choose but their feelings were heartfelt. They believed the war was wrong and acted with sincerity and took it out on us who chose to serve or were called to duty. We took our fellow Americans abuse and just kept on serving our country realizing not all were of that persuasion.

To sum this up, if you really are thankful for a veteran who gave their all for your freedom and way of life do something to 'show' how much you appreciate what they have done. When you see a veteran or homeless veteran do or say something to make them feel better. Tell them you know your freedom was founded on what they did and what their fellow men and women did and that you are grateful. But most of all be sincere in your thanks and don't just repeat a standard clause 'thanks for your service'. The vet will appreciate it and you will make a difference in your life and their life. You will know who they are because when the National Anthem is played they will stand - take their hats off - face the flag - stand as straight as their old broken bodies will allow and show honor to the flag of our country by putting their hand over their heart or saluting the flag. They will stand proud and just a little taller.  They are reciting in silence and in their mind those who gave their lives and can't be there to honor the flag so that we all could live free and enjoy all the freedoms our country provides.  They will remember and everyone needs to remember too. Truly honor a veteran!!!


Bruce said...

I decided to post this three days early so readers would have time to think about how thankful they are and choose your words of thanks for our vet's.

Gypsy said...

Very well said! I was in my early 20's during that war, and one of my brothers served at Bien Hoa. I hated the war and thought it wasn't right to put our best young men into that situation, but I was always on the side of those who served. It breaks my heart that so many Vietnam veterans are homeless, surviving by sleeping rough and panhandling. That is not right and never will be. It's a lot different with veterans of wars in the Middle East, and I can never understand why we still don't give our Vietnam vets the same help and gratitude.

Margaret said...

Beautifully said, Bruce.

Pat said...

Funny -- even before I read this, I had started to cringe whenever I heard someone say, "Thank you for your sevice." It's not that they don't mean it... they took their time to form a thought and then say the words... I'm sure each and every person who speaks the words means it, but that phrase has become so plain vanilla. From now on, when I have an opportunity, I will speak words to express my gratefullness. Here is a good story: Dave was paying our bill after dinner at the Carolina Smokehouse in Cashiers, NC. The man at the register was the owner, and we struck up a pleasant conversation. He noticed Dave was wearing a U.S. Army ball cap, and genuinely thanked him for his service -- not just words by rote -- and then he discounted our meal. That was a real spirit-lifter. Dave has several times quietly and anonymously paid for servicemen and police officers meals, so his kindness returned to him.