Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thank you.



What is a Veteran?

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or he is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another, or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat, but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb of the Unknowns, whose presence at Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say "Thank you." That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Those two little words mean a lot, "Thank you."

56 comments:

Rachel said...

So thankful, so grateful... for all that selflessness that meant I could live in safety.

Thank you for posting this.

(And Thank You Grandpa, for carrying the pain of Iwo Jima for us)

Teachinfourth said...

You know, those two little words - when combined - are quite powerful.

Thank you for the gentle reminder.

Skeller said...

Amen.

Tamar SB said...

Thank you for reminding us what the Memorial Day is truly about. This was beautiful.

TechnoBabe said...

Very good description of a veteran.
Thank you for the reminder that we can each just say thank you.

Dot O said...

Wonderful, Becky! Thanks for reminding us.

Grace said...

Such a beautiful post and a great reminder that their gift never leaves us though often our memory of it does.
Thanks for the reminder.

Caseybumpinalong said...

Oh wow, I love this post! Beautiful picture, beautiful words. Thank you for the reminder of what all our soldiers have sacrificed for us. We should treat them all like kings.

Tara R. said...

Perfection. Awesome photo.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

What a great reminder that it's not just about having the day off from work and bbqing. Wonderful post, Becky.

April said...

Boy, did that ever put a lump in my throat! I couldn't agree with you more...THANK YOU means more than we will ever know to those who've given up so much so that we can live FREE!

kelly said...

I do say, "Thank you."...everytime.

Gigi said...

You have this awesome way of bringing to tears to my eyes often. Thank You are two little words that means so much - particularly to our veterans.

Grandma J said...

Most of my neighbors are active duty Army. The others are retired military. Then there is me, JJ and my one neighbor Lillian...the odd balls.

I salute our servicemen and women and you too Rebeckah for your wonderful post.

Maggie May said...

Lovely post and photo. We must be grateful to all who try to protect us and get hurt in the process.

Over hear a vet is an animal doctor!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Nancy said...

They answered the call and that's all that matters. Great post and photograph. Love your blog. :)

Team Lando said...

beautiful. i love your blog... discovering it over and over through kelli hampton, through baby #10, through i heart faces... i am starting to "follow."

gretchen said...

So true, Becky. One of my girls ran back in a store one time to say thanks and the smile that came across the man's face was priceless.

Happy Memorial Day!

Mrs4444 said...

They're incredible; their sacrifices. I, too, am grateful.

Speaking of such, I can't find your email address, so I'm inviting you here to come and check out the photos my sister took this week, which I posted on HPTK. As a photographer, I know you will appreciate the experience of capturing something so incredible. check it out!

Marla said...

This entire post made me cry. :(

But in a good way. We need to remember this. Always.

Marla @ www.blueskiesphotoblog.com

photowannabe said...

Powerful words....
Powerful post....
Powerful reminder.....

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

Brings tears to my eyes. So perfect!

Rachel @ A Cupcake for Moose said...

What strong and true words. I won't soon forget this or the reminder to say thank you to our amazing veterans...all of them!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Amen!!! *tear tear*

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

Wonderful! Love this post!

Sarah said...

I love this. Great photo and wonderful post.

K said...

This is so touching! Thank you from a mama whose hubby is deployed right now. It makes this Memorial Day easier to get through when I know of all the support he and everyone in the military is getting.

Dana-from chaos to Grace said...

LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEE this entry!! I love the "realness" of it! VERY good choice!

Simple Girl said...

You meet the most amazing people! Love it!

Alana Jo said...

Perfect choice!

Buckeroomama said...

Beautiful, Becky... both the photo, as well as the post.

tangie said...

mmmmmm.... what a great entry. beautiful shot. emotional and beautiful.

~M said...

Truly perfect post for the month of May. Gorgeous shot.

Casey said...

Great post!!

ukreal1 said...

Brilliant!

T Lee said...

agreed.....Thank You are two small but powerful and meaningful words! it's a hard life for so many after they have served!! it's not right!

Megan Gray said...

Awesome post!

Dana said...

Well said. . .and let's not forget the children and spouses, too. Their sacrifices are grand.
Dana

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

Perfect post Becky. Those two little words do mean so much.

Mighty M said...

Awesome post - Hannah drew a great military picture to send to my dad. :)

Aunt Snow said...

This is beautiful. And we need to remember them.

Great photo.

Sonya said...

Powerful post and picture!

Anika said...

wonderful post.

Maddy said...

So thankful for all those who gave their lives and for those that continue to fight on behalf of our country! It's impossible to think where we would be without their sacrifice.

Keetha Broyles said...

And we owe them so much, a "Thank you" hardly seems adequate.

Crystal said...

Beautiful and Powerful Entry! Thank you for posting this.

Susan said...

Oh how beautiful Becky. I feel so grateful too.

Hope you are having one blessed day.

Eleanor said...

Perfect as always!

Shannon Morgan Photography - Bainbridge Island, WA Photographer said...

Wonderful!!

Queenie Jeannie said...

This was awesome!! I've never read it before and it totally made me cry. Just beautiful!!!! Thank you for posting this.

DeeMama said...

Beautiful post and beautiful (in a sad sort of way)picture!

erkarts said...

This is one of the best posts I've read in a long, long time. Absoutely beautiful and so heartfelt. Being the wife of a veteran, I appreciate this so much. We were fortunate. My husband spent 28 years in the Navy and retired without having to face any battles. We are members of the American Legion Riders and we see all of the situations you described. Thank you for this. It means so much to so many people.

Catherine said...

Beautiful, Becky. Everything. You are such a great writer, photographer, friend... Love this!

projectedprogenitor said...

And thank YOU for this. I love this post.

Be well.

Angie said...

Simple and beautiful!

Megan Gray said...

I love this picture! I think I commented on it earlier but had to come back and say hi! thanks so much for visiting me over at my blog and for your kind comments. FYI if you are near Philly than I'm not far at all. Two hours tops! Come visit the Jersey Shore LOL!!