Saying, Thank You

Some time ago, I ran into a high school classmate of mine. Other than the passing moments at a reunion, we probably hadn’t shared more than a few sentences over the last 40 years. As we caught up that day, I learned that he had served in Viet Nam.

After hearing his story, I said, “Thank you for your service. I appreciate what you did.”

He looked at me for a few moments and then said, “I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me.”

The look on his face brought a lump to my throat. I have no doubt he’d read the Veterans Day articles in the paper, seen the parades on TV, maybe even participated in those events. But a thank you extended¬† in this large, collective way, did not have the impact of the words spoken personally, one on one, from me to him.

Thank you. It’s a simple thing to say. I do it automatically. When someone opens a door, passes a dish, picks up something I dropped. Most of the time, I don’t think about it. The words just come out.

On Veterans Day, we collectively thank all those who serve in our nation’s military. I hope I also remember to say a personal thank you to the men and women I meet who serve. We cannot say thank you often enough.

*Veterans Day image courtesy of Office of Government Affairs

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