Monday, December 01, 2008

It Made Me Feel Better All Day

This morning I went to renew the registration on my truck.
It was actually due in November, but they were closed
Friday, which I didn't know until I went there on Friday.
It was rather chilly with a cold wind this morning, so I was
wearing an old style Air Force flight jacket and and ball
cap with "USAF" on front. Anyway I got there about ten
minutes after they opened and there was just one person
ahead of me in line. When my turn came, I walked up to
the window and as I did, I was looking down at the documents
I was carrying to be sure I had everything I needed. When
I got to the window and looked, up the lady at the window was
standing up and holding out her hand as if to shake my hand.
She was close to me in age and I thought "Am I supposed to
know this lady?" I had never seen her before in my life.
Then she said,"Thank you for your service."

I said "You're welcome, I appreciate your thanks" as I
have learned to do. We went ahead and completed our
business, and I again thanked her for her kind words and
wished her a good day.
I didn't mention to her that it was a long time before I
received any thanks for my service in Vietnam. I've
learned not mention it. In fact, it wasn't until about
2004 or 2005 that I started hearing "Thanks", but I hear it
more and more now and I'm grateful for that.

I'm not saying I was spat upon or cursed when I returned
from Vietnam,because I wasn't. I saw what happened to
others, though and didn't advertise the fact that I was a Vietnam
veteran until many years later. I no longer bear any grudges
or harbor any resentment over that, but many do. I've learned that
holding on to such resentment hurts me much more that
anyone I may resent.

Having said all that, let me add that I will not tolerate that
kind of treatment toward out troops today. There is not
much of that but there is some and it seems to receive
the notice that it deserves, at least in the blogosphere.
So if you see an active duty member or someone you know
is a vet, tell them "Thanks". It'll make you both feel better.
I know it made me feel better all day.
Update: Had to make a slight edit for clarity.

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