November 10, 2013

When They Thank Him

{Soldiers examine a road blown up by an IED in Afghanistan - photo by Sky}

"Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country's cause. 
Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause." 
— Abraham Lincoln

When they thank him, he usually shifts his weight from one foot to the other. He nods. He shakes the hand they extend while they're saying it. "Thank you for serving our country." Or sometimes, "Thank you for all you do." Or simply, "Thanks for your service." The words vary slightly, but the intent is the same.

They don't see him in his uniform often because he's Army Reserve. Most of the time, he looks just like them. But when he wears it, maybe they get a glimpse of the enormity of what a uniform can mean. They see him for what he is underneath his day job.

One time, while traveling through an airport terminal, a World War Two veteran shook his hand. He told me that it was humbling to hear gratitude from someone who had given so much, in such an enormous war, in such dangerous times.

Most of the time, I think it makes him uncomfortable to hear.

But I hope they thank him anyway.

Because when they thank him, they see Millie and Walter. They've spent a lot of time without their dad. Millie has had a lot of Skype time and phone calls instead of having him here to read her a story and tuck her in. She's spent over a year of her three years without him. They see the lonely nights I've had. They see his mom hugging her son before he left for a war zone.They see the way our family has had to bend through all the turns and loops balancing civilian and military life. They may not know all the times the Army has promised something only to do the opposite, or how hard he has to work to get the ribbons on his uniform, but when they thank him, they know that he does something they couldn't do.

Most of all, when they thank him, they see a little of what I see. I am proud of him. So proud. And I'm proud of my brother, father, step father, mother in law, father in law, grandpa, great grandpa, and proud of all of my milspouse bloggers and their families, too. All these men and women who handed their futures over to our country do a remarkable thing. And when someone notices, that's remarkable, too. Whether it's met with just a nod, or maybe a lighthearted joke, it helps me remember that all of it is worth it.

If you're reading this, and you have served, thank you. And the next time you see someone in uniform, be sure to thank them. Those thanks echo so much father than you could ever imagine.

Happy Veterans Day.

11 kind comments from you:

Jenna Guizar said...

Beautiful, Erika. Thank you for sharing. Thank you to your husband, and thank you for being a strong woman for your family :)

Amanda said...

Happy veterans day to Sky! Thinking of y'all and everyone else today. So huge thanks to him for stepping up.

blm said...

Thank you for sharing, and thank you and your family for continuing to make these sacrifices. In all honesty, I am proud to be a milspouse (and mil-daughter) when I have peers like you.

andthenwelaughed said...

Beautiful post. Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your husband's service and yours.


Chantal said...

Great post! I know Brandon gets uncomfortable with the thank yous, even though they are very much appreciated.

Kathryn B said...

Beautifully written! My husband, who is in the Reserves as well, acts the same way when someone thanks him.

Mrs.B said...

Love this! Mike gets uncomfortable too but he really does appreciate it as well!

Jamie said...

Happy Veterans Day to your husband!

greaterexp said...

As someone old enough to remember the Vietnam war and a little talk from uncles about WWII, I always hoped we would never see another war. But they keep coming, whether we agree with the cause or not. Knowing that we have people always there to put themselves in harms way for us, to give away months, and sometimes many years of their lives that they could be spending with their families, giving up the right to do the things I get to do every day at home in safety, it fills me with gratitude. God bless all our service people, past, present, and future. May they always know how very grateful we are to them, and may our country always treat them well and honor them as they deserve. Thanks for a great post! Much love and thanks to Sky, and all your family members who have served so honorably.

Jen said...

Happy Veterans Day to your husband! Hugs friend.

Jenn said...

Big thanks to Sky, and you, Millie, and Walter as well, for service to our country!

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