I work in a building that houses a VA Outpatient clinic so I see vets quite often. I always take the time to thank each veteran I come in contact with through the day for their service. Often times, they will say thank you and move on. Some will stop and shake my hand and ask me if anyone I know served. But, more often than not, they look at me with questions in their eyes, often having to do a double take and think about what I just said as if it were something they don’t here often. Each time this happens I am filled with a deep sadness that these men and women who gave so much for our country hear a word of thanks so little that it surprises them when they do.

Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe it isn’t normal to see a veteran and thank them for their service. Maybe to most people, seeing someone with a veterans hat, patches or vet plates isn’t enough to say, “this person served” and I should acknowledge that. To me, when it is obvious the person standing in front of me is a veteran, it is proper to thank them for their service. And when it’s not obvious, when they are simply wearing military branded gear, I often feel compelled to ask them if they served. They most generally did or know someone who did and at that point, I thank them for their service or offer my thanks to their loved one who did serve.

Maybe I feel strongly about this because my husband is a veteran. So is my grandpa, my uncles ans several of my cousins. Maybe I feel this way because I love my country and I appreciate all that are willing to give up their everything to fight for it. Maybe it’s because I grew up in small town America where everyone flies an American flag, supports our troops and stands with their hands over their hearts when they hear our National Anthem played before every event big and small.

I don’t live in that small town any more and it’s times like this, when I see our veterans go unappreciated, our flags burned and people texting during the National Anthem that I really detest the values this blue state holds.

I can see this is on its way to turning into a political post and that’s not what I intended this to be about. This is about thanking our veterans. It’s about taking a minute to recognize all that they gave up. It’s about giving respect to a person who fought for this country, who fought for your rights, past and present.

Regardless of your political views, your thoughts about war or this great country, *America; our veterans, our soldiers, they fight for you, whether you appreciate it or not. So, next time you are walking down the street, a free citizen, and you see a man or woman who fought to keep you that way, thank them, because no veteran should ever be surprised to hear the words,

Thank you for the service to our country!

*Please don’t think I think any different of any soldiers/veterans from other countries. It is simply that I live in America and I blog about only what I know. Veterans and soldiers from all countries deserve respect so long as they are fighting for the good of their people and not against them.