When it Looks like this:
This post was originally published on Nov. 5th. I wanted to say somehting for Veteran's Day, but couldn't think of anyhting else that said it any better.
The Feared Redhead and I were sitting in Burrito Boy last night, having Carne Asada tacos, when I looked out and noticed that the car parked next to ours had a plate just like this one. There was only one other table with customers at it, so I asked the gentleman at the table if it was his, and it was.
He earned it while serving in the airborne in Vietnam. I didn't ask what kind of wound or how, but he did offer the information that it still hurts.
So I went to the trouble of thanking him for his service and his sacrifice. I let him know that I understand that "Freedom isn't free" is more than a cliche slogan, that I understand the price of freedom, and the huge debt of gratitude and honor that we owe to all veterans, especially those who are wounded or killed in the service of the Republic.
I asked him how often anyone acknowledges his service because of his plate, and he told me it isn't often. I found that, quite frankly, not just sad but downright wrong.
How much time and trouble would it be, really, for someone to pause in a grocery store parking lot, or with the window rolled down at a stop sign, and just utter two simple, single-syllable words: Thank you. Hell, you have to exhale anyway, why not take the miniscule extra effort to use that breath to form a simple phrase that, quite frankly, people like the gentleman in Burrito Boy have coming to them? And how much better would you feel about yourself, and your country, if you bothered to do it? Is it just possible you might actually think about the words you're speaking, and the reason for them, and the significance of that reason, and might just be a little more thankful that you live on free soil, freedom purchased by those who offered their "Last Full Measure of Devotion"?
That's not much to ask for, is it folks? So when you see a plate like the one above, remember that it cost its owner something more than just the registration fees. And remember that they paid that cost on all our behalf.