As seen in the Thanksgiving edition of Stars and Stripes.
Last month at my husband’s promotion ceremony, his boss turned to my oldest daughter and said, “thank you.” He then acknowledged the sacrifices that she’s made to support her father and her country for the last 14 years.
Neither of us had ever heard such simple, yet powerful words before. We thank our military members all the time in person and through moving tributes passed through email and on Facebook. Sometimes we stop to thank the spouses too.
But the kids? We have high expectations for them. We expect them to adapt, to deal with what comes their way, and to move every 2-3 years. “They’re tough,” we say. “They can handle this.” And they can. And they do. They live the life and step up to the challenges.
They go months without fathers or mothers – sometimes both. School events, sports games, birthdays and holidays are often spent with a fan club of one.
They move to different cities, states, and even countries starting over in school as the new kid making new friends while missing the old. We tell them that they’re learning new things, new cultures, and that this is all a wonderful experience. Sometimes, we just need to give them a hug and say “thank you.”
My daughters could teach me something about strength. They make these sacrifices so that their dad can serve his country and in that way, they are serving their country as well. They are young patriots standing up for America and showing those around them what it is to be an American.
It’s a time for us all to be thankful. Thank our military and their spouses, but don’t forget the children who sacrifice quietly, without complaint, and often, without those two simple words we all need to hear. Thank you.