Americans support the soldiers
I am constantly amazed by the commitment of time and energy that so many citizens make to improve the lives of our service members and their military families.
Whether or not they support a particular military action, I can say from personal experience that Americans appreciate and respect their service members.
For example, on my way back to Iraq after two weeks of leave in January, my meal at a Dulles Airport restaurant was anonymously paid for. The note on the napkin said simply, “Thank you for your service.”
Then, Delta Airlines bumped me to business class for the flight to Atlanta. As the ticketing agent handed me the ticket, she said with a smile, “Thank you for your service.” From Atlanta, I then flew to Iraq on a military plane; no business class on that bird.
The thousands of letters I have received from residents of the Eastern Panhandle are filled with words of appreciation and support. I can tell you that every gesture and kind word has a tangible impact.
My fellow service members can also tell countless stories of support: service members who have needed repairs to their house; injured troops who have gotten transportation for doctors’ appointments; or just the spiritual nourishment of a kind word.
Wherever our service members are deployed, even to the far corners of the earth, it is a safe bet that the support of the American people will be there for our troops in harm’s way. They know that they have our republic’s deepest gratitude.
I believe that Americans do this because they feel, as I do, a deep pride in a new generation of Americans who, when faced with extraordinary challenges, have answered a call to duty, honor, and country. These young men and women have put their lives on the line for something bigger than themselves.
The men and women wearing our nation’s uniform on the front lines of freedom know how much America appreciates their dedication, service, and sacrifice. The military families who support our service members also know they have the nation’s respect and admiration.
Not long ago, President Obama visited Camp Lejeune to pay tribute to our service members. He called these past years for our military “one of the most extraordinary chapters of service in the history of our nation” a sentiment with which I know residents of the Eastern Panhandle could not agree with more.
– Tom Maiden lives in Shepherdstown with his wife and four children. He is currently serving in Iraq. When not serving as a “Citizen Sailor,” Tom works part-time teaching insurance and financial planning at Shepherd University and owns a financial planning practice in Shepherdstown.