Saying Thanks

Tulsa has one of the biggest Veterans Day parades in the country, according to our local news station. Yesterday, despite temps in the high 50s and rain, we met up with our son and grandson and headed downtown to claim our few feet of curb and wait.

There were lots of school kids there, cheering, waving flags and yelling, “Thank you!” to the people marching/cruising past. Us adults on the sidelines whistled, waved, applauded and smiled until our cheeks hurt. The Gold Star Mothers group brought tears to my eyes (Blue Star Mothers have a child in the service; Gold Star Mothers have lost a child in the service). My son spent a year each in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fear and worry I lived with until he came home is still so clear. Those mothers knew that fear, too, and so much worse. God bless them and their children.

There were a few of the Chosin Few in the parade, along with a couple walking hand in hand, carrying a sign that read “WWII vet and war bride.” 😉 There were VFW units, high school ROTC units, middle school leadership groups, car clubs, a pink (!) fire engine, and the Patriot Guard motorcycle group. (We love the Patriot Guard!!) There were marching bands, too. Our fave — Booker T Washington — wasn’t there (man, can those kids play and move!!), but the others were pretty darn good, too.

It was wonderful seeing the older vets, both in the parade and watching, and even more wonderful seeing the little kids welcoming them. Anyone in the service will tell you that it often seems a thankless job, so such recognition is more important than you can guess. I recall years ago going to a Romantic Times convention to receive an award. We got glammed up, me in a beautiful green silk dress and DH in his choker whites. After the ceremony, a woman came up to him, extended her hand and said, “I just want to thank you for serving our country.” When our son came home from Iraq, he flew through Houston, where all the available airline employees were lined up at the gate to greet the troops onboard. They thanked the troops, shook hands and fed them. Those are both memories they’ll keep forever.

Don’t wait for Veteran’s Day to come around once a year. Think of all the sacrifices our military personnel and their families have made for this country and how blessed we are to live here, and the next time you see an active-duty serviceperson or veteran, stick your hand out. Say thanks. You’ll make his/her day.

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7 thoughts on “Saying Thanks

  1. Marilyn–
    On my ST forum, I posted a thank you to all veterans & active military with a brief story. The replies were so moving.
    I see such a vocal majority (and those that do deliberate acts of kindness) of gratefulness now vs when our DHs came home from the Viet Nam war.
    I wish I had been at the parade with you! I love parades, and get choked up. Thank you for teaching the next generation about honor and respect.

    • We all want to be appreciated for what we do. Getting shot at, living in jungles or deserts for months on end, carrying 100-pound packs, going hungry and watching your buddies die when there’s not a damn thing you can do for them . . . that deserves EVERYTHING we can give.

      Wish you’d been there, too. It’s sad to see that each year there are fewer WWII vets to take part, and to see the Gold Star moms, but uplifting to witness the pride and dedication and respect.

  2. Where were y’all standing? I was just outside my office at 6th and Boston. I wondered if you were attending but didn’t take the time to call you.

    I stood next to a former Marine who wore a Marine Corps cap. I found it interesting that a lot of the men on the floats and in cars looked his way and acknowledged him. It’s almost like they’re all in a big ‘club’ in which you had to be there to understand what it was really like.

    Riding on the back of a convertible, between 2 women, was a young man in camo’s who had just gotten back from Afghanistan Wednesday. Wow. What a welcome home for him!

    Thanks for the post, Marilyn. And THANK YOU to all who have served.
    !

    • We were at 7th and Boston. Bob went for a walk before it started, but he didn’t see you. He wasn’t wearing anything with an insignia, but Brandon had on his 173d Airborne cap, and a lot of people in the parade acknowledged him. There was a guy in one of the vehicles who’d been in his old unit – 2/503d — and they shouted back and forth a bit. 😉

      It is a big club, isn’t it? They gravitate to each other, even if it’s just to exchange a greeting or a few words. (Cops are the same way. I tease Bob that they give off pheromones that only other cops can smell.)

  3. Will do, and back at you with Bert.

    When Brandon was in Italy, he said whenever they went to Venice, there were always American tourists there who just about lined up to buy them drinks. Made for a cheap weekend!

  4. You’re very welcome! Somewhere in my cross-stitch patterns, I have one that says, “The toughest job in the Navy . . . Navy wife.” Military spouses, especially the career ones, are some of the strongest, most capable and independent people I know. I grew up real fast when we moved to our first duty assignment. There were times I just wanted to run back to Mom and Oklahoma, but I came to love it.

  5. I remember as a kid, my dad ALWAYS had us stand and salute any veterans in any parade. He’s the one who taught me there isn’t anything these people deserve more than respect. Wasn’t always remembered by people during ‘Nam. I’ve been called “baby killer” when I travelled in uniform.

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