Thank You for Serving · 7 November 2009
For the past few years, I have been thanking people who I know are veterans. When I find out they are vets, I shake their hands firmly, look them in the eyes, and say, “Thank you for serving.” I know that I am not changing the world by doing this small act, but I am truly grateful for those who don uniforms and serve their country.
I am not exactly sure why I started thanking vets, but since we usually celebrate Veterans Day at our high school, I started thanking veterans in our building. After we publicly recognized our veterans, I would go up and personally thank them. Back when I started doing this, we had two veterans who served in Vietnam. Currently, we have one veteran who served in Vietnam, one who served in the Middle East, and another who served during the Cold War. I try to make sure I thank them all each year for the time they served our country. After all, I do know that freedom is not free even though I have not shed my blood to help keep it.
While I have made it a practice to thank veterans I meet, I know that I have missed thanking veterans in my sphere of influence. Usually, I do not know that they are vets. Still, I am sure I have not thanked my own relatives enough for serving. Uncle Tick fought in World War II. Uncle George finished parachute school as the war was ending. Uncle Harry was recruited to be part of the Military Intelligence Service during World War II, but chose the regular army. He was still based in Minnesota when the war ended. While I cannot thank these three of my mom’s brothers because they have passed, I can thank their brother Les whose military pictures I have seen, but I do not know when he served. I can also thank my dad’s two brothers who served. Uncle Don served in Vietnam during the war there. And Uncle Wes served after that. My brother, Scott, served during the nineties. My father-in-law served in Germany during the Korean War and my nephew, Kyle, is currently serving in the Coast Guard. While I do not know much of what any of my veteran relatives did during their time in the military, their service was important and I thank them all.
It is very important to thank our veterans and have a day dedicated to them. That is why I have reserved the days near Veterans Day to thanking those I see almost daily. To those I meet or have little contact with, I like to thank them when I find out they are veterans. I thank them all because they have done something important with little to no recognition for a job well done. And because they have been or are still protecting our freedom and the Constitution of the United States.
I have seen videos on the internet and causes on Facebook saluting our veterans. These are wonderful, but I like the personal touch. So I will continue thanking the veterans I know on Veterans Day. And when I meet military personnel, whether active duty or veterans, I will look them in the eyes, shake their hands, and tell them, “Thank you for serving.” I hope that others will too.
© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi
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