Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There She Stands, and The Gratitude Campaign

Veteran's Day has passed, but not without two moving e-mails from friends, both coming with videos.

The first video comes from perhaps the first girl I ever kissed, too young even to remember (though I do have this vague memory of sitting on the parsonage steps holding her hand), but reminded of it often enough by my mother to think I do. She has a beautiful family of her own these days, and looking at a photo of her, her husband, and their children recently, I know myself well enough to know that if her daughter's face is any bit a reflection of her own at an even younger age, she likely did steal (and just as likely break) my too young heart. How fast time flies.

The second I'll offer here because, newly retired, it's time for me to start saying "Thank you" to those who remain in uniform, carrying on the job I no longer have the privilege of doing. It hasn't been that long though, just over a month now. And it hasn't been three days since someone saw the parachute team sticker on my rear window or the HALO plate on my front bumper and said "Thank you for serving" to me. Even now, retired, the thank you's come.

But really, it's my turn to say thank you for younger hearts, stronger arms, even greater sacrifices than were ever asked of me or my family. If you've known me long, you know I think we ask too much, these days, of our young troops. Not as a nation, for I think the public is grateful in a way never before seen. But the people in Washington, the people running the war, the people making the decisions . . . they ask far too much with too little appreciation of the cost.

So if you have the chance to say thank you, do. I will. And if you ever think it doesn't matter, think again. It moves them, it moved me, often, to hidden tears.

The video can't be embedded, but if you'll click here, it will take you to the short movie. It's worth it. And I owe thanks for this to a newer but equally dear friend in the Pacific Northwest.