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Thank our Military Whenever you Have the Chance

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.


Are you ready to say Thanks?

If you consider yourself a supporter of our military members, in the coming days take the chance to say "thank you" whenever you see them face to face.

You will see them in the airports, in the shopping malls, at the movie theaters, in restaurants. Now that our missions in Afghanistan are coming to an end, they are in our daily lives again.

Maybe you know

Maybe you know someone who who served"over there." For the last 20 years, thousands of them have been away from their family and friends serving thousands of miles away from them. Their homecoming is finally happening and, no doubt, they will not receive the attention others have received at different times. That shouldn't diminish their service and their family's sacrifice - in their eyes or in ours.

How will you recognize these returning soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors? Well, first and foremost, you can probably spot them by their haircuts - at least the men. High and tights are not the rage among most young guys, so when you see one, chances are he's military.

If you pay close attention, you might be able to pick our military out of a crowd by the way they hold their spouse's hand and keep their children close. After so many long separations, just being able to have your loved ones within reach is something you don't take for granted.

You might recognize these men and women by the way they carry themselves. There is a pride in serving your country that can't be hidden by civilian clothes. The uniform comes off, but not the honor.

If you find yourself behind one of these patriots in line for the movies, or at the next table in the cafe, of filling the family car at the gas station, stop and say "Thank You." They can't hear it enough, but more importantly, after two decades of war and the demands we have made of only one percent of our population and their families, we can not say it often enough.

After two decades

After two decades of deployments in two theaters of operation, troops coming home from war might be considered old news. Perish the thought! Troops coming home should be front page news (above the fold!) whenever it happens. These are the folks who have put themselves in harm's way for people they do not even know and will probably never meet. And many of them didn't make it back. Many of them made it back, but will never be the same - neither will their loved ones.

For most of us, these wars have been items on the evening news or the occasional article in the newspaper. Maybe your civic group sent Christmas packages for a year or two. Maybe your church has held a tribute service around the Fourth of July during these years of war. Maybe you have sent e-mail cards to wounded soldiers or baked cookies for a deployment ceremony at the post or base near where you live. But these folks you are going to see in the airport and at the movies - actually went and took the risks for us. We can not say "Thank You" enough.

But we can sure try.

These ladies are British, but their message is the same.


Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on November 10, 2017:

We are always hearing about "the one percent" in our country, and it refers to the few mega-wealthy among us. There is another one percent in our country - those who serve in the military. I'd like to hear more about them.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on May 31, 2013:

Freeway Flyer: You couldn't be more right. As far as I'm concerned our military should never pay taxes again - at least not while they are on active duty or medically discharged. There are so few of them compared to the general population. And that should be just the beginning.

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Paul Swendson on May 30, 2013:

It's a nice thought, but they need more than thank yous. It's unfortunate the services that they receive upon return have often not been adequate.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on February 19, 2013:

We do owe our military members employment opportunities after the sacrifices they have made for all of us. It is the least we can do. Glad to hear employers realize the value of their discipline and experience. There will always be exceptions. But it is a good place to start.

RTalloni on February 19, 2013:

The thanks that honorable members of the military deserve is tremendous, and we should try to express it with our words, our advocacy of their support systems, and with jobs/business opportunities.

My husband and I were recently discussing choices regarding a business matter. The list of people included some with a military background. In thinking through which person to choose we realized that one with a military background could be the best choice.

If they do not know answers they are trained to get to the solutions by asking questions and doing hard work to get to the root of any dilemma. They would probably be very disciplined on task, not wasting time whining about the effort required. They would be appropriately focused on positive outcomes, and they could bring much more to the situation because of their training such as patience in reaching goals and a definitive ability to follow instructions.

That is not to say that other people would not or could not have the same qualities on their side, just that out of a group of people the ones with military training could likely have the qualities we were looking for wrapped up in a finely tuned package that could mean that they would be leaders among their peers in all walks of life.

Thank you for emphasizing gratitude to those who have led and followed with honor in service to our country in this hub. We have enjoyed a relative peace and safety that much of the world knows nothing of and we have given tremendous aid to people groups who have suffered under tyranny. Those who work to maintain that status for us deserve to be appreciated.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on February 19, 2013:

Ten years is a long time for America to pay attention to any thing. But we've enjoyed a decade of peace at home thanks to the sacrifice of these young women and men. We have Army friends who just lost their son, the first U.S. death in Afghanistan in 2013. He was buried last week in Arlington. Another Army friend's daughter was the first woman killed in Afghanistan. Her class ring is on display in the West Point Library where the ring from a graduate of each class is honored - usually postumously. How do you thank families for such sacrifices?

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on February 19, 2013:

My son recently retired as a Colonel from the Marines, and his son is going in after graduating from College this May. Another one of my grandsons such enlisted in the Navy. So, as a mother and grandmother, thanks for this wonderful hub. I'm so excited to see our troops coming home after serving during such hard times. Voted up++.

Mary Craig from New York on February 19, 2013:

"The uniform comes off, but not the honor." That statement sums it all up...the people serving us and our country did so with honor and we need to honor them in return. There are many servicemen in my family including my son who is in the Army National Guard and works in Homeland Security. He never left this country because of his position in Homeland Security, but served actively during 9/11 and its aftermath, has been sent to help with disasters, and so on. No serviceman should ever be ignored, no serviceman should ever want for a job or house or food. Anyone who serves their country deserves the best. Let's take some money away from politicians and give it to our Veterans!

We always say thank you to every serviceman we see. My husband makes it a point to shake their hand as well. I truly loved this hub and think it should be written on the walls of every politicians office in the country.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Shared too.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on August 11, 2012:

JayeWisdom: I'm with you. We've taken a decade from these young people and their families. And we made a promise to them. We must see that the promises are kept.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on August 10, 2012:

In addition to saying "thank you" every chance we get, it's up to civilians to make ourselves heard whenever politicians make noises about cutting Veterans Administration benefits. So many vets suffer from PTSD in addition to physical injuries and illnesses, and they deserve excellent medical and mental health care for as long as they need it. It infuriates me when someone who never served in the military wants to cut V.A. benefits!

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on August 10, 2012:

phdast7: From someone who knows. Thanks for being a part of this conversation.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on August 10, 2012:

Kathleen - An important and necessary reminder to all of us who sleep safe and sound at night, that our soldiers don't. They are separated from their families, from the comforts of daily life, and whether they agree with America's political direction and choices...they serve their country, often facing loss of limbs and even loss of life.

They deserve the nation's gratitude. better care when they come home, and our personal appreciation and thanks. "Thank you for your service" can never be said too often.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on August 10, 2012:

Justsilvie: Thank you. As an old Army wife myself, I can testify to the fact that benefits are being cut even as we speak. It is always done quietly in hopes nobody notices while all the legislators spout off praise for service members. The public needs all the reminders we can give them to pay attention.

daskittlez60: You are 100% correct. We are still sending folks, and they are still getting hurt or worse. Today's news is a sad reminder of that fact.

jellygator: Nothing is more shameful to a nation than veterans who are out of work and homeless. Only one percent has served this last decade. Surely we can do better making sure they can make a good living for such a small percent of our population.

Thanks, all of you, not only for your comments, but for your prompt comments. These three came in within ten minutes of my posting this hub, which is actually an updated version of one first posted last winter. :)

jellygator from USA on August 10, 2012:

Please say thank you with job offers, housing assistance, and through your support of legislation that provides these things for our veterans, too. The jobless, homeless, suicide, and mental health rates skyrocket for veterans who gave up their social networks while they served, and when they're done with their military time, there may be nothing left to return to.

daskittlez69 from midwest on August 10, 2012:

Troops are still being sent to Afghanistan as we speak. I appreciate your Hub though.

Justsilvie on August 10, 2012:

Great Hub! We need to say more than thank you, we need to make sure that they receive the benefits they have so rightly earned through their service. Something that always seems to slide by the wayside after the wars are over.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on July 07, 2012:

CassyLu1981 and Jenna: First, thank you for your family's service and sacrifice. This generation owes you all a debt we can never repay. Six deployments? Four deployments? Thank you doesn't nearly say it.

Welcome to my hubs. I hope you enjoy them.

Jenna Pope from Southern California on July 06, 2012:

Your Hub was very inspirational. Both of our sons went on 4 deployments between them -- 2 each -- to Iraq and Afghanistan. For any other returning Vets, Thank You!!! Voted up.

CassyLu1981 from Spring Lake, NC on July 06, 2012:

I am all about supporting our men and women in uniform as my husband has served in the Army for over 11 years now! We have 5 deployments under our belt with the 6th within the next few months. I hate that we are still "helping" other nations when we should be home. Thank you for writing such a heart felt hub :) I know I appreciate it! Voted up and shared!

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on January 16, 2012:

cmlindblom: Writing a hub is the least I could do for those who've done the heavy lifting for a decade. Thanks for the read!

Chris from middletown, ct on January 15, 2012:

I did read your hub like you suggested and it is a good one. These days I feel like it's the cool thing to say you support the military but then turn around and forget about it. The fact that you felt strong enough about it to write about it and demand about it is really a great thing and I thank you for that.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on December 14, 2011:

Excellent Hub. We should all be more grateful and take every opportunity that presents itself to say thank you.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on December 09, 2011:

Will Starr - You found your way to several of my hubs today! Must have been a slow day!!! Thanks.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on December 09, 2011:

WillStar: Thanks for reading and commenting. Appreciate the sentiments.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 08, 2011:

Really nice, Kathleen. Thank you.

Voted way up and beautiful.

Longhunter on December 08, 2011:

Kathleen, your son is still serving his country in his own way and deserves our thanks and respect. Tell him I said thank you. He's in our prayers as well and thanks for your prayers for my cousin.

Also, thank you to you and your family. Those that serve never serve alone.

Kathleen Cochran (author) from Atlanta, Georgia on December 08, 2011:

Longhunter, Thank Caleb, and your family, for his service. I pray for his protection as well. It's so easy to forget the ones who are still there - and will be there for a long while.

I have a son in Afghanistan also, as a contractor. (The military wouldn't take his flat feet! So he went as an IT contractor.) He'll be home in January. It's not the same as being a soldier, as he would be the first to tell you, but we sure do miss him!

CathyG on December 08, 2011:

Just remember, don't just say "Thanks" now - do it everyday. My family and I make a point to say "Thank You" any time we see a service person, military or civilian. This also includes our law enforcement officers and firefighters. Don't forget they are also putting their lives on the line each day so we can sleep better at night. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SERVE!

Longhunter on December 08, 2011:

It's great these men and women are on their way home, hopefully in time to spend the holidays with their families. Thank you to them all and to the ones still there and those leaving now.

I have a cousin, Caleb, who left December 5th for Afghanistan. Caleb, along with all our troops, are in our prayers.

Great hub, Kathleen.

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