saying ‘thank you’

so a few years back they started a grassroots campaign encouraging folks to say ‘thank you’ when they passed a soldier in uniform in the airport.  okay, totally doable.  i mean, they are wearing their uniforms, so you really can’t miss a solider, or airman, or marine or navy person.  and in years past i’ve never had a hard time simply smiling and saying those two words.  until the other day.

blame the hormones, blame the travel fatigue, blame the holiday season, blame knowing they had just said good-bye to their families after a short 15 day visit (they had a specific patch on that they only wear when deployed), blame the fact that hubby is currently.  whatever you want to blame, i was fine saying those two words as the first soldier passed lil man and i.  you could see it in his eyes that it has been an emotional morning for him.  but as the second soldier passed, i said, ‘thank you,’ and then lil man asked about his gun.  i explained that soldiers don’t bring their guns home from their ‘other office’ when they visit.  we have police officers to keep us safe here while our soldiers are taking care of the ‘bad guys’ at their ‘other office.’

then came the third and fourth soldier.  and by now, i bearly could utter the words and then quickly turned to lil man as my eyes started getting misty.  i knew they knew, but still, it didn’t make it any easier.  i was a wife with a son who was traveling during the holidays while her soldier was far away.  i was their wife, lil man was their son, and they were my husband.  in those brief moments of exchanging looks and ‘thank you,’ there was that connection.

and so, from that grassroots campaign to uttering the words, in those brief moments we reassure each other that we are more than army strong.

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