July 8, 2010

A Word Of Thanks

A Facebook friend sent a message out the other day. She helps Veterans out and was looking for notes of encouragement and support for a vet who'd just had a stroke and was understandably depressed as a result. So I wrote one.

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Hi Dewey,

My name is Chris. I'm just an average guy with an average job doing my best to support my wonderful family. I've been married to my wife, Beth, for ten years though we've been together for eighteen years having met and fallen in love in college. I have two extraordinary children. Mia, my almost-five year old daughter, and Owen, my two year old daredevil son. I consider myself to be a relatively patriotic guy. I'm not a rabid flag-waver and my patriotism doesn't blind me to the problems that exist in our country. But I'm a proud American, perhaps prouder since I became a father.

My daughter is on our local neighborhood swim team. Last year when the pool opened for the summer she wanted nothing more than to swim on the team with the big kids. So she worked all year to become a good, strong swimmer. Now she's the smallest, youngest and slowest swimmer on the team but she swims with an unparalleled determination that is inspiring to watch. I know I'm her dad and I'm supposed to believe this with all my heart and soul but it is obvious watching her that she could do or be absolutely anything she set her mind to. And here, in this country, nearly anything is possible.

That's what you fought for.

You served and fought for my daughter's ability to do whatever it is in life she might want to do, to take on whatever challenge she wants to assume. You've played a part in enabling her to achieve her dreams. For that I am truly grateful.

But it's not limited to my daughter.

My son, like his sister, has a blank canvas in front of him. He wants to be a superhero now - Superman, specifically - but I suspect that'll change. And the possibilities in front of him are limitless.

When I was a kid, my parents and I took nearly endless road trips driving - literally - across the country nearly every summer. America is a vast, beautiful country and, like it's people, diverse. There is, I believe, a spirit that runs through America's soil and the minds of its people that is truly unique, something we all need to do our best to recognize, preserve and fight for when needed.

We send men and women into battle to do the right things by our country and its people. It's wrong to assume that our obligation to those men and women ends there. It doesn't. The people who cross oceans and deserts to fight for our freedom - like yourself - deserve not only the thanks of a grateful nation but its perpetual gratitude and support. You, Dewey, have mine. I will be eternally grateful for the part you played in my life. You made it possible for my kids to be anything. And I suspect they'll make us proud.

Thank you Dewey. I wish you a quick recovery. My family and I will be thinking of you.

Sincerely,
Chris

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There are over 23 million veterans living in the United States. Nearly half are over the age of 65. In fiscal year 2008, the federal government spent $84.4 billion dollars on veterans benefits programs. But no amount of money can convey the gratitude of a simple thank you. A number of organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars have established programs to support veterans. Don't forget them. Don't let them be forgotten.

Posted by Chris at July 8, 2010 7:00 AM
Comments

Thank you.

Love,
Holly & Kris

Posted by: Holly Reynolds at July 8, 2010 7:54 AM

This is fantastic ... thank you.

Our veterans are absolutely amazing people.

Posted by: Jase at July 8, 2010 9:33 AM

Thats a beautiful letter!

My father was in WWII and he was always a member of the VFW as well as the American Legion. Thanks to our state VA benefits he was able to get money for his disability (not war related) which allowed him to stay in assisted living far, far longer than his own savings would have allowed.

I'm grateful for what the VA had to offer and also for the VFW and American Legion offers to their vets - when they are living and at their burials. They are the organizations that I without fail contribute money too. If they're outside a store with those red poppies, I'll donate every time they're there!

Posted by: NancyJ at July 8, 2010 10:34 AM

Thank you for writing this letter. Also, thank you for the link. When Operation Dear Abby comes around I send cards to the active soldiers, it would be nice to say thank you and remember those that are done fighting, but have fought for my freedom.

Posted by: Krush at July 8, 2010 11:02 AM

Thank you so much for writing this to Dewey. And for reminding us that there are veterans who need a kind word.

Thanks,

Posted by: debb at July 8, 2010 11:43 AM

You are a truly gifted writer Chris.

Posted by: Heather at July 8, 2010 3:36 PM

Chris,
I visited Dewey yesterday and gave your letter to him. He was touched and didn't know what to say.
He is in much better spirits today and is hoping to return home next week.
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.

~Jenn

Posted by: Jenn Benn at July 8, 2010 5:00 PM

What a wonderful letter Chris! Thank you for sending this!

Posted by: Debra at July 8, 2010 6:19 PM

wonderfully written. i too am an avid supporter of our soldiers both active and veterans. I take my daughter to the VFW and we bring brownies or go and support their functions. i am teaching her to appreciate the sacrifice and commitment they have made. its so important that that doesnt get lost and forgotten. this post put a smile on my face :)

Posted by: Steph at July 8, 2010 10:32 PM

i work in a pharmacy. In canada, most veterans have their medications covered by Veteran's Affairs and pay nothing for them. Sometimes one who has been relatively healthy doesn't realize this and is surprised when he doesn't have to pay. I invariably tell him he paid his dues a long time ago and we are still grateful for it.

Posted by: chrissie at July 9, 2010 1:06 AM

Beautifully written Chris!

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at July 9, 2010 1:46 AM

What a beautiful and thoughtful letter. You really made a difference to Dewey just by taking some time out to do this.

Posted by: diane at July 9, 2010 5:20 AM

Chris. You are awesome.

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