“Thank You For Your Service”
This is one of those personal stories which touches on a subject which, unfortunately, we too often forget except on Veterans Day. Yesterday I wound up on a fourteen hour road trip to a couple of campaign events for this year’s congressional race taking place in two towns along the Hudson Valley in New York. We were meeting with a number of state and county Republican Party leaders as well as a number of supporters. One of the topics of discussion for the day was management of federal and state spending for veterans’ programs.
As the day wore on we spoke to a number of people, many of whom asked questions or related their own background and stories. In the course of these talks, I inevitably wound up mentioning that I myself am a veteran and telling of a few of my own (generally positive) experiences with programs available to vets. There was one common response which really stuck with me and is still on my mind today.
Upon hearing that I was a veteran, roughly one dozen times the people I met would stop, smile, reach out to shake my hand a second time and say, “Thank you for your service.” And I should be very clear here… these were almost entirely private, one on one discussions taking place in a rather hectic mixer environment, with no cameras or microphones around, and no one to see or record the event. It was just a brief moment shared between two people. I have to admit, I left both of the events smiling with a much improved outlook.
It’s such a small, simple gesture for anyone, but something which too frequently gets forgotten except on national holidays. But it really does mean a lot and it’s quite a refreshing change from the way things were when I was a young man. So if you meet a veteran, don’t be embarrassed. Take a moment, shake their hand and just say, “Thank you.” It means a lot and costs you nothing at all.