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Thanks for Your Service to Our Country…a Great and Positive Attitude Shift Toward Our Military Men, Women and Veterans

Updated on October 29, 2016

AF Vet Cap


Thanks For Caring About Your Warfighters

I'd like to offer my personal thanks to the anonymous diner at the Orlando International Airport Cracker Barrel! Yesterday, Saturday July 2, 2011, around noon, I was having a late breakfast at the Cracker Barrel restaurant (I was wearing my Air Force Veteran cap). The server came over to say that an anonymous diner asked him for my check and to please relay his personal thanks for my service (all those many years ago). I have since "passed it forward", anonymously buying dinner for a couple of older WWII vets and their wives and recently, my wife and I were eating dinner at Beef O'Brady's and when I asked for the check...someone else had picked it up. Thanks again to whomever was so gracious. While this was my first “free lunch”, so to speak, I have been “thanked for my service” a number of times by individuals in various place, even the pilot on a flight back from Indiana last year, as I exited his plane. My reason for wearing the cap is not to receive appreciative comments from folks, but it is a great way to strike up an occasional conversation with other “vintage soldiers and sailors” as I travel around. I must say that the general public has a far better feeling of respect for the hardships that our servicemen and women go thru to maintain our way of life than they did when I got out of the Air Force during the Viet Nam era. I truly appreciate what the current generation of warfighters are sacrificing for us and the way that we, as a nation, are coming together in their support!

Thank you Anonymous Diner!

I fear I may have shortchanged you though, as I consider my four-year AF tour as among the best years of my life. I met some great friends, had some great experiences, the base Education Office helped me begin my first college program, the GI Bill was there had I needed it to help pay for school (I was fortunate to work for a great company that was happy to pay for its employees’ advanced education efforts), technical training that helped me to get into a 30+ year career with IBM and, finally, I met my wife of these past 44+ years on a TDY assignment (to participate on a Source Selection Evaluation Board for the Maverick missile system) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where she was working as a Civil Service secretary (leading, of course, to my two great "kids" and a most-beautiful granddaughter). Moreover, for all this, I was never really put in harm's way, I was in Okinawa, basically Japan's Hawaii, rather than Viet Nam, riding motorcycles, SCUBA diving, and when I personally fired a weapon, it was at a target as a member of the Kadena Rifle Team and a couple of vacations in Guam and Taiwan. Most of my stateside service was in Florida with about nine months in Denver, CO, it just doesn’t get much better than that when trying to serve one’s country.

Nevertheless, thanks again, I truly appreciate your gesture on behalf of my "fellows-in-arms"! It is very encouraging to see the “good press and videos” in support of our warfighters that are frequently passed around via the Internet and the positive articles in the newspapers and TV news shows. However, I also personally find it very discouraging, and even disgusting, that some groups are holding protests at the funerals of returned soldiers…and perhaps even more so that “our” Supreme Court, almost unanimously, upheld their rights to do so. This shows absolutely no respect for their ultimate sacrifice!


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    • oldstudeman profile image

      oldstudeman 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you! Yes, I was ready to go wherever they sent me, I was fortunate to work on an early, nuclear-armed cruise missile system, which was only deployed in Okinawa and Germany. I did work on missile systems for our F4 Phantom fighters in the 33rd TAC Fighter Wing, which rotated folks in and out of Viet Nam, during my final 15 months of duty. They just chose not to send anyone with less than 13 months to complete a full in-country tour. Best of luck to your Marine....

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 6 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      old studeman,

      I too would like to thank you for your service to our great country! I am the mother of a currently deployed Marine. He too has been blessed to have served 4 years already, experiencing many wonderful countries and cultures while learning amazing things, making lifelong friends, and getting his degree while being stateside and in "friendly" countries. It is what we call "deployment with training wheels." However, like your brothers and sisters in arms, you both have been willing to risk your lives for our lives here at home. You have endured separation from your families and been a potential candidate for full active warfare duty. I thank our warriors who face live fire every day and pray for their safety, but I appreciate all who serve. Thank you for being willing to stand in the gap for your country. God bless you all!

    • oldstudeman profile image

      oldstudeman 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanks Bud, I am really trying to thank the American populace for for its newfound patriotism as it relates to these brave young (mostly) warfighters who put their lives on the line for us all. Of course, this anonymous diner had a very positive impact on me and it is greatly appreciated.

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting story, and I think it's great you created a hub to thank that generous person. Very good hub.