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Gypsy
05-26-2004, 21:05
With Memorial Day coming up, I always reflect on those that gave all in the name of freedom around the world. Thank you doesn't seem to be enough but each day I do give thanks for all who have and who currently put it all on the line so people like me can live in relative peace and safety. It is a priceless gift, and one to be treasured. And I never miss a beat to thank anyone I run across who has/is serving...often they are rather surprised but pleasantly so.

Came across this article today, it seems fitting to post it in thanks to all of the brave souls in the history of our Nation who sacrificed their lives.

http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/ddaniel/2004/dd_0526.shtml

Soldier, Thank You for Your Service
By Debbie Daniel
May 26, 2004

It was a cool afternoon here in Texas, and when I walked into a business to get some information, I saw a gentleman standing back against a wall waiting his turn in line.

I couldn't help but notice he was wearing army fatigues, so I went over to him and simply put out my hand to shake his and said, "Soldier, thank you for your service to our country."

He slowly extended his hand and as I stood with my hand still grasping his, big tears welled up in his eyes, and I thought maybe I had done the wrong thing.

I don't know what he was expecting, but I felt like I was holding the "heartbeat" of America in my hand and I was so grateful to have this opportunity.

He was a big ol' burly fellow, about 6'3," and had a very imposing demeanor. I would have reached over and hugged his neck if I could have, but I realized I had already caught him off guard. I wanted to sing God Bless America, but from the pallid look on his face, I knew that wouldn't be appropriate either.

It seemed like an awkward moment for him until he slowly took a breath and said, "Ma'am, I really appreciate you saying that."

It was easy for me because I jump at the chance to say thanks to men and women in the service when ever I can. I see a uniform and I'm there.

But he was finding it hard to get through each and every word and I realized I may have embarrassed him.

I stood over to the side looking through some papers when after a few moments he came over to talk. He shared about his service in Iraq and was delighted to tell me all he could . . . and I was all ears.

He was home on leave, and couldn't wait to go back. I asked him why he wanted to return and he said, "I have to . . . the job isn't finished there . . . I want to do my part."

Well, to add more emotion to the entire encounter, my eyes started welling up with tears, and I got upset with myself for not being stronger. It was a wonderful exchange, and my heart was blessed by being in his presence.

Over this past weekend, I had opportunity to drive through the National Cemetery near my home town wanting to say again as I passed grave after grave, "Soldier, thank you for your service."

This was a bit more somber, and I found myself so grateful for all these men and women who had given their lives for the cause of freedom. The precision with which every white headstone is placed is an awesome sight.

Whichever way you look, up and down the endless rows and rows of markers, they form a perfect line as if standing at attention as you walk amongst them. My heart was pounding as if listening to a drum beat, or hearing taps being played at each and every grave.

Every chance I can, I visit a military cemetery and pay my respects to those who lost their life defending my freedoms. It's an overwhelming feeling to know that another individual was willing to do that because of his love for this great country and willingness to make it safe for me.

I've been to the national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania . . . Vicksburg, Mississippi . . . Arlington, Virginia . . . San Francisco, California, and San Antonio, Texas, and there's never a time when you enter the resting place of these heroic people that you don't feel the presence of hushed voices shouting in one accord, "We'd do it again to serve our country."

Today as I reflected on those humbling feelings to share with you, an e-mail popped up from a soldier in Baghdad. The subject line read: Thoughts from Iraq.

I thought, "Oh, my goodness, I don't know if I can handle this." My emotions were on the edge anyway, and I had no idea what this young man wanted to say to me.

Now it was me that was caught off guard. He wanted to introduce himself and share some thoughts of an article I had written several weeks ago. A friend had sent it to him and he had been thinking long and hard about what he wanted to say and he finally had opportunity to sit down and get it written.

I sat for a moment staring at the computer screen not sure of what I would read because he sent it as an attachment. I clicked on it and before I could get through the first few lines, I had to get up from my desk so that I could just cry.

It was a three page letter, and he wanted to say "thanks." I pictured this man as he talked about what he was experiencing in Iraq and then a "hush" came over me as I read the account of a story he wanted to share.

He wrote: "I was down at the chow hall here in Baghdad one night, when the 9-11 commission was in session and being aired on CNN. After one of the sessions had finished for that day, CNN had a panel of 'experts' on that were being interviewed by the newscasters. The whole question of whether or not we should be in Iraq came up. One of the members being interviewed immediately started slamming the president and his decision to go into Iraq. The crux of the argument was that it was a mistake and that we should not be in Iraq at all.

"While this debate began to unfold, I looked around the chow hall. I work in field with many type A patriots that are considered to be some of the best in the world at what they do. At first, almost all conversation ceased.

"Then people started synthesizing what was said. A lot of grumbling started. Some people started yelling at the TV. Others got so upset that they got up, swore at the television and walked right out of the chow hall grumbling to themselves . . . I sat there and watched helplessly as the 'experts' in America played Monday morning Commander-in-Chief and dealt a series of crushing blows to the morale of America's military."

My heart just sank as I continued to read on to the end of the letter. When I finished I could only hang my head and realize that this isn't going to stop

. . . there will be more. And that's sad.

How can we send our soldiers to a battlefield, and then have them watch us argue and complain about them being there? I can't even imagine that feeling.

As this Memorial Day approaches and we remember those who gave their last breath for a cause they believed in, I pray that we will find a way to get a message to our soldiers and say "Thanks." It has to be lonely out there.

No matter what our political bent, we sent them there and the least we can do is offer our gratitude for their willingness to go. They're walking through fire everyday and we don't need to fan the flames. God Bless them all.

Happy Memorial Day - thanks for the service you or your loved ones gave to this great land.

If you have a message for this soldier and any of his buddies, I'll be glad to pass your note along.

-----------

Debbie Daniel can be contacted at: dddtx@yahoo.com

skipjack
05-26-2004, 21:32
Great Post!!!!!

I'd like to say Thank You to all past, present and future service men and women as well.

Very important to let them know that we are with them.

-skipjack

lrd
05-27-2004, 07:46
Thank you for posting that, Gypsy.

"Thank you for your service." It almost sounds like something you would say to a waitress, but it's amazing what those words can mean.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your service.

QRQ 30
05-27-2004, 08:25
Thank YOU for your thoughts!!!:)

CPTAUSRET
05-27-2004, 10:14
Great post!

That type of thing has happened to me a few times, it always makes me tear up. Because it is not just me who is being thanked but every individual who has honorably worn this country's uniform.

A couple of years ago we were in Kyoto sitting at the head table surrounded by heads of psychiatry for various schools, universities, and VAs around the world. Sitting next to me was a man from Canada (Soma Ganessan) we chatted and I asked his nationality, he was Vietnamese and both he and his wife were from CanTho, VN. We talked for a long time and he eventually brought his wife over to meet me (not Nancy) who happens to be the famous one in the family, they both were in tears attempting to express their admiration, appreciation, and thanks to me, but in actuality to all the Americans who served in Vietnam. They ended up being imprisoned for a goodly amount of time until they were able to somehow escape to freedom. We 3 stood in the middle of the floor and hugged each other the tears flowing freely, and unashamedly.

Terry

Gypsy
05-27-2004, 12:28
Terry,

Sir that recounting of your experience is a beautiful story and I bet a treasured memory. Thank you for posting that for us. It really is a humbling experience to be allowed a peek into the personal stories that are shared here.

QRQ 30...you are more than welcome, I consider it an honor to say thanks for everything.

Sigi
05-27-2004, 12:31
I have a habit of turning a conversation in a bar into Iraq/Afghanistan/the military just to see how many veterans I meat. This one guy was a Marine in Vietnam. All I know is that he was in the bush and carried the radio. I met him about 2 mos. ago and chatted with him most of the night as we bellied up and I bought him his dinner and his beers.

Wouldn't you know it he showed up to the bar on Sunday and I didn't see him come in. Next thing I know I have a beer in front of me and the bartender points down the bar and says "that gentleman wanted to buy you a beer." I forgot about that day but he didn't. For some reason it choked me up.

I try to never miss an opportunity to say thank you to those who have served or are serving.

I am truly thankful for men and women who selflessly protect my freedoms and liberties. It is a debt this nation can never repay.

Edit: Wow, great post Terry. Thanks for sharing that.

CPTAUSRET
05-27-2004, 12:39
Originally posted by Gypsy
Terry,

Sir that recounting of your experience is a beautiful story and I bet a treasured memory. Thank you for posting that for us. It really is a humbling experience to be allowed a peek into the personal stories that are shared here.



Gypsy:

I should have mentioned that I flew Cobras out of CanTho, the three of us were there at the same time.

Terry

Gypsy
05-27-2004, 15:45
I knew you flew Cobras Sir, but wow that addition makes even more of a wonderful story!