Friday, April 8, 2011

It may not be a paycheck....

I don't know about you all but I can't log into facebook without my entire homepage being filled with links and status updates about the looming shutdown. I'm not at all saying that's bad a thing but its nearly impossible to find anything to be positive about today. Military spouses around the world are sitting and panicing, praying they go into labor this second while they still have Tricare Benefits. Or we're holding our breath that no one in our house gets sick enough to need a doctor over the next week. And service members fighting to protect the human rights of others are about to be putting their lives on the line for no pay whatsoever. Its tough to swallow.

I can admit I've had more than a few moments over the past few days where I have NOT been proud to be an American. I could write a huge long rant on my opinions of the governemnt, president, congress, the shutdown...but that's been done a thousand times over today and yesterday.

Instead I want to offer the Military and Milie blogging world something else.

Its not a paycheck....but just in case you have forgotten....

You matter. 

What you do matters. 

To prove it I want to share comments from a post I wrote last year. I wrote this after G.I. Joe was given the shock of his life....he went to a movie theater in uniform and the manager refused to take his money. He said "Soldiers shouldn't have to pay in a country they shed their blood for." The post was actually about how we don't do what we do for the glory or thanks but at a time like this I think its important to remember people are thankful.

It might seem like Capital Hill could care less....but you matter. 

Your sacrifice matters.

Over 1 million "angry Americans" take a stand on Facebook saying that this is absolutely unacceptable. Here are some fabulous stories of grateful Americans standing proud behind our troops. Please PLEASE feel free to add your own thank you stories in the comments sections. Our troops and families need all the positive encouragement that we can get. There is enough negativity going around so lets lift each other's spirits a bit.

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. .
   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.

My fiancĂ© 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! 

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. 

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. 

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."

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 :) 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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! 

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;) 

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.

I know we don't do this for the praise but its nice sometimes to be reminded of the simple fact that what you do matters.  There are so many more stories like this  out there, I don't even have time to copy and paste them all.  But in case anyone hasn't told you lately....

Thank you.



Lauren said...

I love your positivity. I can't think of a story to share right now, but I did want to share the following, just in case you know some people who might need to be informed:

Tricare will continue coverage of service members and their families if the government shuts down.

Doctors, and I know this because my husband is an Army medical student working at a military treatment facility right now, will continue to show up every day to take care of their patients. They, like the soldiers who continue to report for duty in other branches, will continue to report for duty in the hospitals and clinics.

So if anyone were to get sick or go into labor, they will be cared for no matter what. I read that you had seen people worrying about those things, and so I needed to share.

Again, thanks for the positivity. It was a beautiful reminder.

Consider The Lilies said...

what an encouraging post in such a shaky time. thank you for gathering these stories. i really enjoyed reading them :) nice to know when people acknowledge our service members and wish it happened more!

To Love a Soldier... said...

Thank you so very much for posting this. My husband just returned to Afghanistan after R&R. I have so many thank you stories but the most recent I would love to share and didn't have to include the words.

When I was at the airport gate and could no longer see my husband I turned to walk to a less public place until his plane took off. An elderly lady stood before me with tears rolling down her cheeks. Without a word she stretched out her arms and gently pulled me to her. She hugged me in my weakest moment. Asked his name, my name, and promised to pray. She put her hand to my face, lightly patted my cheek and that was all.

Sometimes they don't have to say the word to tell us how they feel.

FemminaDaVinci said...

Great post! It made a sucky situation a little brighter. Prayers that we wont be worrying about who will pay our bills at the end of the day :/

Katelyn said...

Love this post!

Anonymous said...

It brings tears to my eyes everytime someone walks up to my Papa and says thank you. He served in Korea.
I am so grateful for our troops and their families. It breaks my heart that there is not more support.
Reading these stories also brought tears to my eyes. It shows there is good people out there and there is support for these amazing men and women!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post. I read each of these stories and started crying! My boyfriend is in the military and I couldn't be more proud of him and his men and women. I love when people step out of their normal routines to take a second and thank those who risk everything for our country. It's so refreshing and selfless. With so much negativity looming these days this made me so thankful to be an American!

Jessica said...

Loved reading this (thru tears)

Kristina said...

Thank you for posting this-it's been killing me that so many people have been so angry about all of what has been going on...soldiers talking about not showing up for work, wives freaking out over if they will have enough money to feed their families; I'm glad you've posted a little reminder of why we do what we do- I think it would behoove us to remember that more often than we do.

Blue said...

I just started following your blog. You give me such an insight and great words of encouragement. I look forward to reading more about your life as Mrs. G.I. Joe!