My spouse works his tail end off for his country, not to mention risking his life and leaving his family behind for months at a time. So it’s pretty great when people who are not in the military recognize his service. He finds it a little embarrassing, but sometimes I secretly plot ways for us to run errands right after he gets off work and before he has time to change out of his uniform just so that I can hear people thank him for his service. It’s heartwarming.
And then there are the little kids. Even in a town with a huge military population like this one, you still run across awe-struck kiddos who think being a soldier is the coolest thing on planet earth. I love seeing them stare while they say to their parents “look, it’s a SOLDIER!”
Servicemembers and military spouses sometime complain that America is not grateful enough for their service. Other times we question the way civilians express their gratefulness.
But I wonder if poorly expressed thanks (or no thanks at all) is at least partially due to a lack of knowledge. Like being invited to a party with no idea what to bring the birthday boy, they buy the best thing they can think of. And sometimes it just isn’t right.
So we’re here to give a little guidance. Dear civilians, here are some of our top military appreciation ideas:
Skip the sympathy — give gratitude. Military members don’t want you to feel sorry for them. We chose this life and we are happy to serve. So instead of saying “I’m sorry,” say “Thank you!” Encouraging words make us beam with pride.
If your business offers a discount, publicize it. Even though we aren’t looking for handouts, we understand that many businesses want to say “thank you” by giving us a percentage off our purchase. That’s fabulous – thank you! If it’s a secret discount, however, that only some military members know about it feels more like an advertising gimmick than anything else. Why not let all your cliental know that you appreciate the military? Consider posting a sign. Not only will you be spreading the appreciation love, but more military members will have a chance to find out about the discount and use it.
Hey Hollywood! How about a good story once in awhile? Instead of making movies and producing shows that make us look pitiful, why not produce more movies like “Act of Valor” that make our jobs look really, really cool?
Give a military spouse a hand. Know any deployed military families? Think about doing something nice for the spouse of a deployed servicemember. An offer to babysit, mow that insanely out of control lawn, drop off a meal or pick a child up from school one afternoon so his exhausted mom can take a nap would all be very appreciated. Little gestures of kindness say “thank you” in big ways.
Got any military appreciation tips for our civilian friends? Share them below.