This morning, as every morning, I head in to 7-11 to grab my $.53 coffee. I am always in uniform and I am literally known as the Army girl. It’s kind of cute. People always speak to me; they are always so kind to me in my community. There is a cashier in the 7-11 who is best friends with my son and another cashier who tells me the story about his brother who served in the Navy.
There is one patron in particular who greets me just about everyday. I don’t know his name, I have never asked. Each time we meet, he always thanks me for my service. I always return the gratitude – as opposed to other times when I thank people for their patriotism. Little known fact – most of us servicemembers are embarrassed about being thanked for our service in public; it’s actually kind of weird.
I know this man – I want to call him Frank – served in the Navy because we have discussed it previously. Our morning conversations are always the same. He thanks me for my service and he tells me that no one thanked him when he came home.
This morning, we were getting our coffee together and he says:
“Thank you for your service. I know I say it every time I see you, but I mean it, sincerely. I served in the Navy for four years as a cook. I never starved, I’ll tell you that. But when I came home, no one said thank you to me.”
I return my gratitude for his service and shared a bit about my grandfather who also served in the Navy for four years as a cook. I feel his pain. He gave his service to an unforgiving country. It breaks my heart.I can’t imagine how that feels. I have been supported thoroughly through my journey of serving my country. I have now come to learn that it is a privilege to be thanked for your service and for your service to this country to be recognized and celebrated. I thought for some time that maybe it was a race thing, but I have also come to learn that it is more of a patriotism thing. Civilians sincerely do not understand the level of sacrifice that we endure to serve this nation – under any and all circumstances. Each servicemember has their own reason for their service but each servicemember SERVES.
As baffled as I am about patriotism, I am humbled by this mans display of gratitude. In all that he has experienced, all of his pain and confusion, he still has a mind to thank me for what I do.
In an effort to hunt the good news story in every day during this #100daysofhappy, this is my good news story. Frank is my hero today. Frank is sincere and kind and he has become a part of my family. I regard him with the same respect and honor that I have for my grandfather. My heart goes out to him for his service to his country, no mater how unforgiving they were towards him.
Frank, thank you for your service.
Love & Light, Fam!