I was reading an article on CNN.com about the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon when I remembered something that happened to us on Friday night.
I was in the Wendy’s with Super O! on our “date night”. She was trying to get through her hamburger so she could have her Frosty and I was gobbing the sour cream on my baked potato. I looked up and saw an older gentleman at the condiment counter and the whole evening changed for me. The gentleman was wearing a retired Marine hat and t-shirt and was leaning on a cane. He started walking back to his table so I got up and followed him. When he reached his table, where his wife and young daughter were waiting for him, he turned around and looked at me. I held my hand out to shake his and said “I don’t mean to disturb your meal, but I wanted to take a moment to say Thank You”. He took my hand, looked me deeply in the eyes and said “Your Welcome”. With that, I walked away.
I went to the counter to get Super O's Frosty and he followed me. When he got to the counter he turned to me and said “Ma’am, that young man working the drive-thru is also a Marine”. I waited a moment until the young man came near me and said “Excuse me but I just thanked that gentleman for his service and he told me you’re a Marine too. I just wanted to say Thank You.” That young man also looked me deeply in the eyes and said “Your Welcome and thank you for recognizing our service”.
As I walked back to my table with tears in my eyes, I passed the older gentleman’s wife who mouthed the words “Thank You” to me. I stopped to tell her that I always thank service people when I see them, but I can’t do it without tearing up. You see, I have a little girl and I understand that our men and women are serving our country for her future. A future where she can be free to reach whatever goals she sets for herself. With that, I got all choked up and couldn’t speak so I waved goodbye and walked back to my table. Super O! saw the tears in my eyes and asked why I was crying. I told her “because I love you”.
We finished our meal by sharing her Frosty. As we left the restaurant I made eye contact with the retired Marine. There was such gratitude in his face. Gratitude for a complete stranger took a moment to thank him for doing his job.
Now I’d like to challenge everyone reading this. Please, no matter how silly or embarrassed you feel, say Thank You to each and every service person you meet in your daily travels. Even if you don’t support the war in the Middle East, please support the people who are giving their lives to fight for us. A simple little Thank You can make all the difference.