Thanking Our Valiant Troops
(February 1, 2004)
". . . Tonight, Ashley, your message to our troops has just been conveyed. And, yes, you have some duties yourself. Study hard in school, listen to your mom or dad, help someone in need, and when you and your friends see a man or woman in uniform, say, thank you..."
Regardless of our personal thoughts about President Bush, I hope all of us can agree with the above statement expressed in his State of the Union address on January 20, 2004. As a parent of a Marine, who returns to active duty later this month, I have a good sense of what it would mean to have a stranger come up to him or any troop and receive a kind gesture of appreciation for service to our country . . . The same goes for all our veterans.
And while I have developed USA Patriotism!, written poems, and articles for the sake of honoring our troops, veterans, other patriots . . . and the United States, I have only silently praised a troop in uniform when seeing him or her in person (exceptions being my son and his Marine buddies).
Now, think of those still in harms away in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. How many of you know someone serving in hazardous situations or has already done so? Did you ever express your pride in them before they left or upon their return?
I am not talking about a relative or good friend . . . that should be a given. It is that young man or woman who we don't really know, but might live several houses down, waited on you at your favorite restaurant, or goes to your place of worship. Of course, the same goes for seeing a stranger in uniform . . . as he or she might have heard bullets whizzing so very near or even experienced the pain of shedding their blood for our great country.
So, just do it . . . and walk over to that valiant one when seen. A few minutes out of your busy schedule might actually be the highlight of both your days. If nothing else, just shout "I am proud of your service to our country" or "thanks for being there for us" . . . Even a silent prayer for his or her safety should be the least you could do!
I also invite you to take a few more minutes to read my poem, Our Valiant Troops, with the hope that it will foster what President Bush encouraged us to do through his message to 10-year-old Ashley.