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Friday, November 11, 2011

What Can You Say on Veteran's Day?

You know, I've been thinking about a Veteran's Day post for the last few days. What to say, how to say it. And I just can't seem to come up with the right words.

I've known so many wonderful people, family and friends, who served. Back in WWII all the way to my wonderful nephew, who just got back from Afghanistan.

I remember a few years ago I was sitting in the coffee shop having a cup with a friend of mine who'd served in WWII. It wasn't Veteran's Day or anything, but for some reason it just occurred to me to say Thank You to him. He's this wonderfully colorful, funny older man...about 6'2", mid-seventies, but certainly not someone I'd call "elderly," broad shoulders, cowboy hat and boots. Just someone you see and think "good ole boy." Very old school, macho sometimes, open your door for you and tip his hat and call you ma'am type of gentleman. I've known him for 20 years or better and not once did I ever see him cry, nor did I ever expect to see it.

I said "I just want to thank you." "Fer whut?" he asked. "For your service to this country."

He sat there for a bit. Very quiet. The conversation went on between the others at the table, oblivious. Then he reached over and patted my hand. Still saying nothing.  I looked over at him and he had a tear rolling down that weathered cheek of his. When he finally got around to saying something, he looked at me very seriously and said "You know, that's the first time anyone has ever said that to me. And you're welcome." Then he wiped the tear away and took himself to the men's room.

I tear up every time I think about that. The man was nearly killed several times and went through things so bad that he still can't talk about and in 70 some odd years no one had ever thought to say Thank You to him? Do we just think it's "understood?"

So I really don't have a long, inspiring tribute post like I was hoping. There are others out there who are much more eloquent and I'll leave that to them. I just want to say two things this Veteran's Day.

1. THANK YOU to all the veterans and their families.

2. Please don't forget to say THANK YOU. You have no idea how much it could mean to them.


  1. The next time you see your friend please tell him I say thank you as well. How hard is it for people to just say two simple words when they risked their lives for us?


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