When I Say, “Thank You for Your Service”…

Dear Veteran,

How many times have you heard the familiar words, Thank you for your service? Hopefully many times. But do you ever wonder what the person speaking those familiar words truly means?

So that there’s no question, I want to tell you what I mean when I say Thank you for your service

Thank you for sacrificing your life for ours. Maybe your sacrifice wasn’t to the death, but because of your experiences, your life will never be the same. And on the flip side, neither will mine. That is a powerful sacrifice.

Thank you for believing that freedom is urgent. That freedom is a cause worth the sacrifice. Thank you for believing in the cause of freedom from the depths of your soul, to the point that you were/are willing to stop at no means to provide it.

Thank you for the bravery just to put one foot in front of the other at times when you feared for your life. Thank you that you kept going when everything within you screamed to give up. Thank you for the sleepless nights, riddled with explosions … artillery fire … worry … nightmares.

Thank you for not giving up.

Thank you for never giving up even though your precious family missed you with all of their hearts, and you, them. For not giving up when things looked hopeless. When your buddy didn’t make it back. When you secretly disagreed with your commander’s orders.

Thank you for moving forward and living life, in light of all you’ve seen and done. May the Lord free your soul of the burdens you carry...of the things you’ve done that you don’t want to talk about. Of the things you’ve seen that no one should see. Of the things you’ve learned that you wish you never had to know. May the Lord bless you in your mental and physical sacrifice.

Thank you for making hard decisions. Decisions that still leave you wondering. Thank you for making tough calls. For protecting others above yourself. Thank you for carrying the pressures you carry that no other human can fully understand.

Thank you for bearing the burden of freedom on behalf of all Americans. Whether or not you saw combat, you lived on the edge of your seat never knowing what would be required of you next, but you were willing. You did what you had to do.

And you are seen.

You are loved.

You are worthy.

When I say, Thank you for your service, this is what I really mean: You are an American hero, loved by God and appreciated by those around you. Yes, even when we don’t speak up because we just can’t find the right words. Thank you.

Veteran’s Day is close to my heart; I hope it is to yours, too. Use the comments below to give a shout-out to a veteran in your life! I’ll go first. While there are several in my life I greatly appreciate, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to my WW2 Navy veteran grandpa, David J., and my Vietnam War Army veteran uncle, John H. You have both made the world a better place.

6 thoughts on “When I Say, “Thank You for Your Service”…

  1. What a powerful tribute, Jessie. This is what I mean, too, but didn’t have the words to explain.

    1. Thank you, CJ! It sure is hard to whittle down all the coinciding thoughts and feelings into adequate words.

  2. Incredibly well said, Jessie. This is also what I mean, and probably what nearly all of us mean, yet don’t have the words to say. Thank you for saying it for us!!

    I will add to the list my father, Jim, as well as a wonderful son-in-law, Josh. There are SO many others that it would take all day to list…thank you to every single one.

    1. Thanks, SJ! Words definitely feel inadequate most of the time, but I hope this began to capture the sentiment. And yes – very thankful for the service and sacrifice of Jim and Josh! 🙂

  3. What a beautiful tribute and important message this is. Thank you to all who have served! Shout out to my Uncle Bob (Viet Nam), brother-in-law Pete (Afghanistan) and brother-in-law Steve. We are forever in your debt. May this country’s people treasure this rare freedom you fought to secure.

    1. Thank you, Melissa! I’m so thankful for your uncle and brothers-in-law, and I love your phrasing of this “rare freedom.” Most of my life I never viewed it as rare, but it truly is. Blessings to you and your family!

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