They Are On Their Way Home
Are you ready to say Thanks?
If you consider yourself a supporter of our military members, you are about to get a long-awaited chance to say "thank you" and this time, you will get to say it face to face.
Many of them have come home. We experienced this transition a couple of years ago when we drew down in Iraq. We saw them in the airports again as they began coming home from Afghanistan. And until the next crisis, you will also be seeing them in the shopping malls, at the movie theaters, in restaurants. They will be home with their families and back in our daily lives.
Maybe you know
Maybe you know someone who is still "over there." A number of them will be away from home for a long time to come. When their homecoming finally happens it will, no doubt, not receive the attention others have received at different times. That shouldn't diminish their service and their family's sacrifice - in their eyes or in ours.
How will you recognize these returning soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors? Well, first and foremost, you can probably spot them by their haircuts - at least the men. High and tights are not the rage among most young guys, so when you see one, chances are he's military.
If you pay close attention, you might be able to pick our military out of a crowd by the way they hold their spouse's hand and keep their children close. After a long separation, just being able to have your loved ones within reach is something you don't take for granted.
You might recognize these men and women by the way they carry themselves. There is a pride in serving your country that can't be hidden by civilian clothes. The uniform comes off, but not the honor.
If you find yourself behind one of these patriots in line for the movies, or at the next table in the cafe, of filling the family car at the gas station, stop and say "Thank You." They can't hear it enough, but more importantly, after ten years of war and the demands we have made of only two percent of our population and their families, we can not say it often enough.
After a decade
After more than a decade and a half of deployments in two theaters of operation, troops coming home from war might be considered old news. Perish the thought! Troops coming home should be front page news (above the fold!) whenever it happens. These are the folks who have put themselves in harm's way for people they do not even know and will probably never meet. And many of them didn't make it back. Many of them made it back, but will never be the same - neither will their loved ones.
For most of us, these wars have been items on the evening news or the occasional article in the newspaper. Maybe your civic group sent Christmas packages for a year or two. Maybe your church has held a tribute service around the Fourth of July during these years of war. Maybe you have sent e-mail cards to wounded soldiers or baked cookies for a deployment ceremony at the military base near where you live. But these folks you are going to see in the airport and at the movies - actually went and served. We can not say "Thank You" enough.
But we can sure try.