Anonymous Thank You to Soldiers

The holiday season tends to brings family members together no matter how far apart they live. But the holidays are also a time when many have loved ones who are serving in the military that will spend the holidays away from family and friends.

During the holidays we are constantly reminded to appreciate the sacrifice and to say thank you to the men and women serving in the military. One such reminder brought back a memory from a couple of years ago that I would like to share.

In 2008 my wife and I attended my son’s graduation from basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. My son’s girlfriend, now his wife, also accompanied us on the trip. It was very interesting to here her talk about the experience at that time. While she understood the sacrifice that all members of the armed forces make while serving, I found her to be quite taken back by the camaraderie, level of professionalism and overall patriotism that seemed to emulate from everyone we met.

Because I served in the army in the early 90’s, my wife and I were not surprised by the experience at the graduation nor were we surprised by the level of professionalism and respect that we received from soldiers and civilians who work and live on Fort Knox. However I was surprised by a couple of things that took place after the graduation.

After Graduation, we met my son at the airport to see him off as he left for his advanced individual training at another post. As we were having lunch before his flight left, we noticed that a few of the other soldiers he graduated with were at the same restaurant. When they were finished with their meal, the server came over to them and told them that another customer at the restaurant had taken care of their bill. The person who took care of their bill never came over and the server did not indicate who it was, she only told them that the bill had been taken care of.

Later that day my son called his girlfriend. He was in Dallas, where he had a layover before going on to his final stop. He told her that he and the soldiers with him had gone into a restaurant to eat while waiting for their connecting flight. Once again, when they were finished the server told them that another customer had taken care of their bill. You guessed it, no one came over to them and the server never mentioned who it was.

This is the kind of stuff you never hear about in the media. Two different parts of the country with two different individuals who took the time to say thank you. Neither of these individuals came over to say, “I took care of the bill,” because that would have made it about them and not about the soldiers.

I can only imagine how my son must have felt as he walked through the airport wondering who it was that had done such a nice thing. After an experience like that, how could you help but smile at everyone you meet? You have no idea who it was. It could be anyone, it could be everyone, saying thank you for what you do. How great is that!

While I realize that these two individuals will probably never read this, I would still like to thank them for reinforcing to my son, and his family, that people in this country still appreciate the sacrifices that each and every member of the armed forces make.

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