Thursday, April 15, 2010

Its clearly not for the money either.

"It seems like you're just doing it for the praise."

I could list a thousands reasons why we are a military family, why we serve our country, and why I love a man in uniform...

But hearing "thank you" isn't on that list.

On a parenting forum, like a year or more ago, I read that statement. Someone actually posted that it seemed like military families did what they did to hear "Thank you." Um, this implies we hear it a lot. Do you really think I would encourage my husband to put his life out there for the opportunity to hear an occasional "Thank you?" No.

That's not why we serve our country. Part of why we do it so that ignorant people have the freedom to run their mouths about whatever they want. When G.I. Joe was in Iraq for 12 months we were 3/4 of the way done with the deployment before 2 people had ever said "Thank you for your husband's service." I didn't expect to hear those words every time I went out. Then again I also didn't expect that the usual response people gave me would be arguments about why we shouldn't be there.

At one point I had really lost my faith and pride in America. When G.I. Joe was spending time in combat I would {morbidly} think "If something happens to him...it will all be in vane. This is not a grateful people he's protecting. These people wouldn't know freedom if it sucker punched 'em." I was emotional then but it is hard when you rarely hear good things about our military from the general public. Sure we have support groups and Soldier's Angels, but the people you pass on the streets from day to day are a whole other matter.

I've become numb to it now so when someone reaches out to a service member it moves me to the point of tears.

When G.I. Joe flew home on leave during his deployment a gentleman gave up his First Class seat for him. It touched me so much to know someone out there besides me was proud of him. Someone he didn't even know and would never see again.

Tonight G.I. Joe sent me a text message. He's away until tomorrow night but he got off work early and went to a movie (still in ACU's). When he tried to pay for his food the person wouldn't accept his money. He asked why and the guy said "The owner doesn't let soldiers pay. He says they shouldn't pay for anything in a country they shed their blood for."

Shock. And. Awe.

There are grateful people still out there. I'm not at all saying that service members should get everything for free. We don't need hand outs of any kind. But what a small and powerful gesture.

For anyone who thinks we do this for the praise or the perks, I'll put it into perspective like this: if you are a parent you take care of your child because you love them. You want to protect and provide for them as long as possible. You did it out of love and devotion for them, not out of what you might get in return. But when they were little chances are you taught them to say "Thank you." Right? You do that so they will say it to others, yet, if you are honest you'll admit that it warms your heart a bit to hear them say it directly to you as well. Its not needed for you to be willing to care for them, but its still nice to know they appreciate you.

I hope you'll leave comments and share a favorite "thank you" moment.



Oops! ETA: I really don't want to make it sound like I'm being UNgrateful for programs like Soldier's Angels. They are AMAZING. I am truly thankful for every Soldier's Angel and similar programs out there.



45 comments:

JG said...

I can't believe anyone would think that (the opening quote). I can think of plenty of other professions people go into to stroke their ego (and I'll refrain from posting any because I don't want to start a fight) but I can't imagine being a soldier (or airman or sailor or marine) is one of them.

Ashley said...

Wow. That is awesome.

I've actually been surprised by the amount of people who come up to Nate--and to me--and say thank you. Being out here where seeing a person in uniform is so rare, I didn't expect much--not that I ever do. I'm still waiting on the day that we encounter a person who is ungrateful. I know it'll happen.

We've had people pay for our meals several times, one time our entire tab at the bar was paid for, and a LOT of handshakes. Its nice to know that in times when the country has gone so Liberal, that there are still people out there who appreciate the sacrifice military families make.

Jayme said...

A few years ago, my husband and I were planning a vacation. We wanted to rent a beach house on a cliff in Northern California, but it was WAY out of our price range. I contacted the owner and asked if he would rent the house for a weekend instead of a whole week. I explained that we only had a limited window to travel because my husband is a Marine and had to report to his new duty station soon. The wonderful home owner gave us his beach house FOR FREE for the week! We both cried when he offered it to us. Years later, we still stay in contact with this generous man. We will never forget his kindness.

I agree with what you say - our husbands certainly don't serve for the glory, and the hardships of the military outweigh the perks tenfold...but when someone goes the extra mile to show their appreciation, it tugs at my heartstrings, too.

Kelly Marie said...

I hated when my husband was deployed and people started political arguments! I don't need to hear it right now...they just don't get it. I was surprised at the amount of people that said thank you..it was nice to hear!

JG said...

I meant to add: I don't know if you saw this on my blog the other day, but this link is an interview with a recent batch of Guard recruits. Their answers as to why they joined (particularly in the second clip) are most revealing. Not one joined for a "thank you." http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/mlachance/2010/04/06/my-pitch-for-a-youth-driven-reality-show-the-national-guard/

puresurplus said...

we can NEVER say thank you enough <3

Melissa Andersen said...

We (my soldier, mostly) have been thanked a mere handful of times. It has NEVER been a motivator.

Thank you (note: irony!) for posting this. More people really need to hear it.

<3

Sarah said...

That is amazing. And terrible that someone would say something like that!!! Sometimes when Joe goes out in his ACU's someone will say "Thank you for your service." And because he's never seen combat, his reply is always, "Thank you, but it's our guys overseas who are doing all the real work." I love him. And I love the people who are appreciative of our Soldiers. And to those who aren't appreciative...I think they should move to a different country for 3 years and see what it's like.

Caitlin said...

I've actually gotten quite a few 'thank you's from people for my boyfriend. It always touches me so much. That said, it's usually from older people and I live in a teeny GO AMERICA town.

Kara said...

You said it perfectly! You can't understand until you've been there. My husband doesn't consider himself a hero. He does his job because he loves it and he loves his Marines, not because of the honor in it. That makes me even more proud of him.

Alia said...

AWE, this gives me tears, it's all in a gesture right :) Such an amazing story! I appreciate when people tell me thank you but I never expect it. When my husband was on his way home from Korea a few years ago, some people in cali. came up to him and told him he was a "baby-killer" but this makes me realize there are people who care! So sweet :)

Dani said...

Very thoughtful post! My fiancé is in Afghanistan and my co-workers reached out to me and are buying things to send him in my care packages... I couldn't believe their thoughtfulness and generosity! They really showed me they cared and it was a true "thank you." I can't wait to put the package together and ship it out!

Jenn said...

It pisses me off something awful when people start in on their political power trips when I mention anyone I know that is a member of our military. I very rarely hear anything positive. It drives me insane. While I have absolutely no issues with anyone having an opinion on war, on why we are there, or why we have not come home yet etc...There is a time and place for it. I just wish that people would understand that the men, women and their families need our support 100% They are fighting for our freedoms and our rights!! My grandpa is a Marine having served in Korea. It fills me with such pride when I see someone walk up and says Thank You to him! I know he holds it dear to his heart too simply by seeing the tears form in his eyes when he hears the Thank you!

Renee said...

(Clap, clap, clap... standing ovation here)

Your words cannot be more true! Like you stated... it's not about the "Thank You" that they (and we serve, as their families) - but it is nice that people show respect for the sacrifice.

Mrs P said...

I definitely have to say I was pleasantly surprised for all the thank yous I have gotten during this. Before his funeral I was TERRIFIED that I'd have to deal with crazies like the Westboro Baptist Church using my tragedy to make their political/religious statement, but it wasn't the case, all we saw was support, it was amazing. If only the support would be so strong for those still fighting and not only those fallen. I love that your hubs got a little bit of a thank you today, to know people realize what they go through for them is comforting.

Baby Love said...

I have two great "thank you" stories. I used to be on active duty and both of these happened in an airport. On my way home from Iraq for my 18-day R&R, I was walking through the airport (in uniform of course) trying to get to my connection. I was walking down the terminal when I felt someone tugging on the cuff of my ACU top. I looked down and it was a little girl, no older than four. She was looked at me and said, "Thank you for what you do." I almost lost it. So sweet.

The second was when I was going BACK to Iraq after my R&R was over. I was in Atlanta and they have this big holding area for all the Soldiers heading back into theater. They got us all together and then lead us to our gate. As the big group of us was walking through the terminal, EVERYONE got on their feet and started clapping. It was such a great feeling and gave me good vibes to go back to Iraq and finish out my deployment.

Stacie said...

There are those people few and far between - those that are willing to say thank you through words or gesture - those people that shake your hand and look you in the eyes and truly are thankful - those people that would stand next to you if they could.....

Okay, so as a wife of a wounded soldier I am in awe of the support that we have gotten! It sucks that our men and women don't get much when they are healthy and fighting to keep us all safe. However, I am grateful and will be forever thankful that there are organizations to help us when the government fails. Wow! I turned the corner. Anyway....we (my husband and I) didn't do it for the "thanks" we did it because that's what we were called to do.

Lisa said...

P mentioned something in his most recent email update to his family. He talked about how when he "played Army" on the weekends in college (aka in the National Guard), he'd get a random person who'd walk up to him about once a year and say thank you.

He said, "And it always took me by surprise when someone actually took the time to walk up and thank me. I'm one who doesn't need to be thanked at the end of the day, because I can say that I'm truly doing something I enjoy and don't really consider it work. And I also know that those little "pick me ups" if you will although not needed or called for can change your day and later on down the road like now when you sit miles away from everyone you know and only see what is slapped in the news reminds you why you do what you do, and helps you get out of bed some days when you wake up and your like why do i do this."

I always feel a little awkward telling him I'm proud of him, but I am SO proud of him, and love him so much for doing what he loves.

HellcatBetty said...

First of all, anyone who thinks we do it for the "thank you's" is batshit crazy.

Secondly, hubby and I actually do hear "thank you" quite a bit, and it makes him really uncomfortable. He's always polite and smiles and nods his head (because what do you say - "you're welcome"??) and then tries to change the subject. He's told me several times that he gets awkward about it because he's just doing his job and it's weird to be thanked for it. I've tried to explain that he's a hero to some people, but he doesn't see it.

My favorite thank you story was when he returned from the last deployment before this one and we spent a night in a really nice hotel in Portland. The porter who helped us take our bags up to the room was young but talkative and figured out that hubs was a soldier returning home. He thanked him and dropped our bags off and left. About 10 minutes later, there was a knock at the door and when we opened it there was a bottle of champagne and a basket of munchies with a simple note on hotel letterhead that said "Thank you for all you've done for us." I got a little teary eyed, but hubs just said "free booze!" Haha :)

Doc's Girl (Noel) said...

These aren't K's, but rather mine:

Four times when I've gone to the post office to mail a package, I've gotten up to the window only to hear "the person ahead of you paid to mail your package, you don't owe us anything."

By the time I heard this, the person who was ahead of me was long gone, and there was no way to thank them. I stood there in shock each time, and twice started crying.

It really is the little things that matter.

We've never gotten to thank those who who have done these little things for us, but we appreciate them more than they will ever realize.

Jeannette said...

I've actually had a lot of comments on my blog from people stopping in from linky parties who find out I'm an Army wife. When they say thank you I cry. I'm even worse if someone says it to my face. I am just so full of pride in what my husband does that it brings me to tears. I love this post.

Krista said...

my favorite thank you was in an airport bar (classsyyyyyy) and 2 ladies sitting next to me noticed my wedding rings and mentioned i look too young to be married and drinking.. and i was like oh im 21, and they were like oh but your married! and asked if we were both in school and i said no my husbands in the army hes in iraq right now, those women were like OMG, youre so young and here we are complaining about being away from our husbands for a few days etc. we don't think you wives get enough appreciation for all you do, thank you.

Christina said...

My husband and I had just gotten to our new duty station. After a very long day of house hunting, a trip to the hospital, and DH trying to get his footing at work, we went out to dinner. This older man and his son both came up and thanked my husband for his service. The next thing I new, they turned to me and thanked me for all I do as a military wife. It was the first time I had been thanked for supporting my husband. I will admit, I'm always speechless when people come up and thank my husband.

wsxwhx716 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs. Trophy Wife said...

I love this post. As a wife with a soldier currently deployed, it's amazing to hear that other women have gone through the same thing as us.

Glad I found your blog!
mine is
http://www.exploitsofamilitarymama.com

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

Wow all these are really great stories! Keep them coming!

G.I. Joe is also not into the praise. I mean, he does appreciate it when its been a while, but even though he's done time in combat he'll ALWAYS say "No, I'm not a hero. Heroes give their lives. The guys over THERE are heroes." Haha he just doesn't get that there is nothing he can say that will make me believe that he's not a hero

But that's just who he is. I also hear the "Its no big deal. I just do my job. That's it."

I think the humbleness and awkwardness our guys experience when hearing "thank you" really debunks that first quote.

And while it military life is stressful and hearing thank you more often would be nice...I'd rather be able to hear stories like Mrs. P's and Stacie's. I'm so glad Rachel that you didn't have any of the "crazies!"

Young Mom/Wife said...

That is such a wonderful thing that business owner does for service members!

I have noticed that the people who reach out and thank both me and my husband are veterans. They have been there done that. Many of them served in VERY unpopular wars where they were actually spit on when they came home from combat. We are such an ungrateful country sometimes. Heck, most people can't even tell you where Iraq or Afghanistan are on a map. They also wouldn't realize that we have soldiers in Haiti, Chile, and East Africa...

A Sailor's Wife said...

Just yesterday I went up to a soldier at a car wash and thanked him for his service and shook his head. He was caught off guard and embarassed a bit,but i needed to tell him. He needs to know that myself and my family do appreciate his service.

And on the other end of that, I'd have to say that my husband has only been thanked a couple of times that I can remember back home in CA. But since moving to TX, it happens more frequently, and for that, I am grateful....grateful to know that some out there do appreciate our servicemembers.

Erin said...

Um yeah, we definitely don't endure deployments and my husband missing months of my daughter's life for "Thank You." Just goes to show you how ignorant people are.

On the other hand, it definitely melts my heart when you meet those nice people that do say Thank you or go out of their way to make things a little bit better for our tropps.

Jaime said...

i got a bit teary reading your blog. and teary again reading the comments.
praise also makes my hubs uncomfortable. he says he's just doing his job, it's what he was called to do.
i always get teary when people give thanks. i know on TDYs and Deployments, he's gotten a few free drinks. and when he returned home from his deployment, we had a surprise party at a restaurant and the manager paid for the meals of our family. and an older couple paid for our dinner, secretly of course.
i cried every single time.
it's nice to see that people support out troops.
it's humbling, yet very kind and generous... and that's what tugs at my heartstrings every time.

Mateya said...

It just makes me sick that people actually think we do this for the thank you...wow!

Numerous people have thanked me and Robbie for what we have done and it truly is humbling. It is nice to know that people appreciate the service, but that is not at all why Robbie chose to serve and that is not at all why I choose to support him.

My favorite thank you moment was last week when Robbie got home from his deployment. As the they all started down the escalator in the airport the entire place was on it's feet clapping and cheering. My heart was fluttering and my eyes filled with tears. I was just so very proud!

BryceandWhit said...

My greatest Thank you moment was when my husband was flying to training and the flight attendant asked him to wait in the back of the line and she said that she will make it up to him...Well when he got to her she said wait here...then came back 5 minutes later and gave him first class seating...The whole works food and all...He was greatful cause he is a taller guy a 6'4 so he is usually crammed on a plane but not in first class...He said he slept like a baby too...Those type of things make me so happy to hear...They work hard and deserve things that are little to the person that is giving but so big to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines...I HEART GOOD OLE AMERICANS;)

Jean said...

When my husband and I flew him home from basic he was offered first class seats by the airline. And at shows (he is a musician), when he is in uniform, he gets a few thank you's. But not nearly what you would expect our soldiers, as you said, to get.

Sarah said...

My husband and I were out to eat at a fancy hibachi-style Japanese steakhouse the night before he deployed for his 3rd time. Since we shared a table with 6 others, as the night went on, it came out why we were out to dinner and what we would soon be facing. When the check came, one of the men at the table bought our dinner (on which we didn't hold back!) despite our protests. He said that he was never able to serve because of a physical ailment, so this is how he wanted to thank those who do serve. Both of us teared up at that.

We don't need acknowledgement of what we do, but it's a beautiful thing when it comes.

Amanda said...

You're right, being in the military is like being a parent. In general it's a thankless job, but that's not why anyone does it - for the praise.

I think the best thank you was when my DH was deployed and a neighbor mowed our lawn for me. My son just would not nap that day. I wasn't feeling too hot either, but it needed done badly. I ended up having to lay down with our son to get him to nap, and when we got up, the lawn had been mowed. I wish I knew who did it. I'm still so thankful for that kind gesture.

Jessica said...

My husband is among the smile and nod group when it comes to being thanked. Often times he replies, "I am just doing my job" with such honor that it makes me smile.
Its amazing the kindness of strangers. I have benefited from many of the kind deeds, packages paid for, free car wash, and just simple than yous to both me and my husband.
I know this. He did not pack his bags and go all the way to Afghanistan and Iraq, he didn't miss many of his first child's first, and a good portion of our first year of marriage...just to hear a thank you. Although grateful for the simple praise...it goes beyond that for him as well as many of the other men in the military.

Mrs. Muffins said...

When I was still doing hair, I would experience either praise or backlash from my clients when I told them Matt was a Marine. It's always good to hear a thank you because it reminds me that there's still good people in this world but if I never heard another one, I would still continue to stand my my husband... or by the phone. I've never met anyone in the military or their family that did this for praise. I can't even fathom what kind of idiot could think something like that.

Tay said...

This is my story, not Q's...

I responded to a craigslist ad awhile back for a free fan, barstool, and wine rack. When I arrived at the address it was a nice elderly couple. I was wearing my USMC sweater, and the woman asked me if there were any other military families that could use free stuff... when I said yes she was ecstatic! Little did I know she had an entire storage room full of stuff... my teeny car was packed to the brim. As I started pulling away she ran to the car waving an American flag, I slowed down and rolled down my window and she said "Because everyone needs to be proud of those serving our country, please fly this flag for us." I drove away holding back tears because of their generosity. All of the items in my car were given to families we knew and two we didn't, one families house on base had burned in a terrible fire.

A Lady in Waiting said...

Since my entire life has been surrounded by military, I have heard many thank yous said to military. However, there is one time in particular that I can remember. My brother, parents, and I were visiting family friends and were out to dinner (it was Memorial Day weekend). A lady came up to all of us, thanked my brother, father, and our male friend (they all have "military haircuts"). Our friend responded by stating that he did not serve but the other two did. She shook my dad and brothers hand and said she was honored to meet them, etc. The both said thanks but that they just did their job. I just thought it was neat that some stranger would go out of their way to do that.

By the way - I am the girl Expat Girl told you about the other day! Hope you can come out on Saturday so I can meet you. Otherwise we'll have to try to do something soon.

Bombtastic Belle said...

That is amazing :) I've gotten a lot of "thank yous" for my husband when he was deployed back in '05 from people in our small hometown of East TX. It was nice, and made it seem like people cared. I can honestly say that I still feel the same way you did, that people don't care as much as they did a few years ago. It's heartbreaking.

Chelle said...

I've heard numerous times that my husband does it so I can sit on my fat ass to keep popping more kids out. I mean really? The pay he gets hardly keeps us afloat some months. He could make twice if not three times what he makes if he did what he wanted as a civilian. I won't pretend to know the true reason why he joined the first time or went back a second time, but I know in the end the paycheck and the little thank yous he gets are not what keep him moving in this career.

Ashleigh said...

I've wondered, on occasion before The Hus left, whether my husband would be over there making this sacrifice in vain also. I know that sounds bad, but it seemed like nobody cared. I told one of my best friends that he was deploying and she was all "Yeah, the Army doesn't even care about their soldiers, huh?" That totally hurt. It's been lovely to see people both online and in real life appreciating the sacrifices that we, as military families make.

I have definitely had more positive feedback than negative - perhaps that's because I'm 5'8" and tend to be intimidating lol. I don't know. I'm shocked that some people would think our men would put their lives on the line for a little validation. I mean...with wives THIS hot, they don't need any extra validation right? ;) lol.

We are definitely doing this for our country. Thank YOU and YOUR family for your sacrifices :)

heather said...

i have a quick question.. were taking our son this summer to disney. he ill be 23 months and i noticed that you took your little girl when she turned one. what i was wondering and all was 1) if she liked it???? and 2) did yall rent one of their strollers or bring your own???

we werent sure what to do and all.. i have checked and he can ride most of the rides..

oh and one more question... did yall stay at shades of green when yall went??? were staying there and i didnt know if yall enjoyed it or not...

just get back to me when ever.. thanks..

Wife on the Roller Coaster said...

Another amazing post. Besides several comments left on my blog, I can't remember the last time I heard a thank you. But it doesn't occur to me to expect it. That's kind of sad isn't it?

How amazing that that stranger gave up his 1st class seat. I can only recall one thank you, and that was at an Applebee's when a fellow diner paid for our meal. Come to think of it, I don't remember how he knew we were military because my husband wasn't wearing a uniform. Must have been the haircut. Anyway, I was shocked. And so thankful that someone appreciated the sacrifices we make as a military family.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

This is a wonderful blog !! Thank you and your husband for being ARMY STRONG !! We appreciate your service and enjoy your blog. Very thoughtful posts. We enjoyed our 30 years in the Navy. Time passes quickly. Treasure your opportunity to serve. You are both American patriots.