“Thank You For Your Service.” Five simple words that have become part of the American lexicon. We hear it routinely now, but it wasn’t until last night that I realized the incredible power of those five simple words.
Once again, it was at dinner. And with a fine Belgian Ale and a great piece of steak (never underestimate the cognitive benefits of both!) I was with two gentlemen who had served in the army of a European country during the Cold War.
These two gents were incredible. They had a Doctorate’s level of knowledge about the Battle of the Bulge, and a passion for preserving history. I found them to be kindred spirits.
As the conversation become more animated, yet more intimate, I just listened as these guys rattled off the latest historical events in Europe they would be attending this Fall. What was remarkable, yet in hindsight, wasn’t….was that each of the events was dedicated to honoring the legacy of Americans who had served in WWII and liberated their country.
Time and time again, there it was….another story about an American who was now getting a memorial in some form. The people of their small villages knew the personal details of the American units and soldiers that had come across the Atlantic, landed, and then fought on foreign soil to liberate its citizens.
As the dinner plates were cleared away, and dessert was served, I asked about their activities of the last couple of days. As they spoke of Arlington National Cemetery and other historical sites they had visited, one of them stopped and proclaimed the next story was his proudest moment.
These gentlemen were visiting a memorial in southern Virginia and the doscent asked if there were any veterans. Several Americans raised their hands. Then these gentlemen raised their hands and noted they had served in the army of their country.
At this point, the doscent thanked the American veterans for their service to our country. He then turned to my friends and said “Thank you for your service”. This stunned my friends as they had never been thanked by anybody before for their service to their country and their sacrifice.
In fact, one of my friends rummaged in his backpack and dug out a small sticker. On the bottom it proudly proclaimed “Veteran”. Those five words and that sticker are going back to Europe with my friend and will remain with him forever.
So as we begin preparations for the Open House, remember the above. And when we ask you to turn and thank a Veteran for their service…..Remember the impact those five simple words might have.