What it Means When You Say Thanks.

September 16, 2011

Sam walks through the airport in uniform, having just gotten home from 4 months in Georgia. While grabbing his bag, a woman walks over and says, “Thank you so much for your service. We appreciate you.”

He nods and smiles, eyes wet, as she smiles and pats his arm.

At the elevator, we hear, “Thanks for all you do for us.” Turning, there is another woman standing there with 3 kids looking at us. She nods to me, “And for you – for all the times you wait at home for him.”

A few years ago (Sam was in the Marines) a waiter walks up to us during our meal and says,

“The gentleman just leaving? He paid for your meal and said to tell you thank you.”

An older man with a WWII hat on stops Sam as he deploys to Okinawa, grabbing his arm and choking out a, “Be safe, good luck.”

The flight attendant bumps him to first class without a word.

A lady in Georgia rushes up to Sam as we check out of the hotel and says hurriedly, “Oh, thank you so much for your sacrifice and willingness to serve!”

Our church congregation gives the military a standing ovation on Memorial Day as all the men and women standing, who have served, hold back their tears.

A basket full of cards, food, and gifts comes when Sam is in Iraq and I am alone. All people who wanted to let me know they were praying about us.

The comments on here as people read about us as a military family blow me away time and time again – thank you.

The friends and family who have reached out and showered us with things we needed, calls, check ins, and offers of help; as we move, he leaves, or we are left unsure of what life is going to throw us – we love you guys.

You can’t fathom what it means to hear or see that you care about our military. The people who have told my husband and I these things, who have done things for us; we will never forget them. They make what we go through when he leaves worth it. I know what it means to Sam, I see his face for hours afterwards as he remembers the kind words and gestures.

Oddly enough, I get very shy about saying these things to someone in uniform – even though I do realize it may mean the same to them as it does to Sam. But the other day I was at the San Diego airport after BlogHer, and there was a young Marine in front of me boarding to leave from boot camp to his stationing. As he grabbed his tickets, trying to maneuver all his gear, I shook off my nerves and put my hand on his arm.

“Thank you for your service.”

The smile that spread across his boyish face and the quick nod he gave me – well, that was all worth it for me too. It was the least I could do for what he is so willing to do for all of us.


  • Larra

    May 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I love reading your blog posts, but this is my favorite so far! I never knew that meant so much to tell them thank you, sometimes to me it seems so inadequate that I think they don’t want to hear it. I won’t hesitate any more. Thank you!

  • Ranch Mama

    May 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I love pointing out the men and women in uniform to my kids and getting the chance to speak to them. My brother in law is EOD and we pray for him and his family all the time. It really is a sacrifice that everyone in the family makes. It means so much! Thank you!

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  • Cindy Thinnes

    May 28, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Thank you so much Diana, for writing this article and then reissuing it today. For all service men and women, we owe you so much gratitude for the sacrifice you have given to Your country. As my husband served in Vietnam, 2 back to back tours in the 60’s, I am grateful and have thanked him many times for his service and courage. Times have certainly changed for our military service men and women, as well as their families. When my husband finally came home, he landed in L.A. and was spat upon by a young person and then demeaned even more with words. How difficult that was for my husband and so many others returning home. Thank you again to all our service men and women for standing tall…..we salute you and honor you today, as well as everyday!! Thank you to my Dad in heaven who served in WWII….Love you!!

  • Madonna

    September 19, 2011 at 8:09 am

    This made me cry when I read it. When I am in the airport, I try to gather the courage to thank a soldier… without tearing up about it. I fly out of the same airport as the local military do, so it happens quite often. On my last flight home, I also thanked the pilot. As we were preparing to land, he made an announcement and thanked all of teh millitary personnel on our flight (there were about 20 of them coming home on their 2-week leave from deployment) and everyone on the plane gave them a round of applause. It was heartwarming

    Thank you to Sam for everything he does and to you for continuing to support him while he supports all of us.

  • Sara

    September 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I get shy too, it’s so silly, but no more. Thanks for writing this, Diana. Really. And thank Sam for me, would you? 🙂

  • Nikki @ from MRS to MOMMA

    September 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    You have no idea how close this hits home for me. Literally in tears over here. Hubbs is getting ready for a deployment and has been coming and going since Emmie was 2 weeks old. We’re getting ready for a one year deployment and all the encouragement and thanks keeps us going.

    Big thanks to your hubby. & a big hug to you and Bella from one military wife to another for standing by him and bearing the sacrifice of loving someone from a distance.


    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks to YOU and your man for what you are doing right now. If you ever want to vent or chat, I’m here.

      1. Nikki @ from MRS to MOMMA

        September 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm

        Thanks, D 🙂 I’m sure I’ll be venting/chatting/crying/laughing a whole lot throughout this next year. It’s always nice having someone who understands what you’re going through…especially when you’re dealing with kids and gone-for-now daddy’s.


  • Little Misses Kate

    September 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Amen a hundred times, from another military wife.

  • Tasha

    September 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    There is nothing that touches my heart more than seeing people say thank you to my husband. It really is a soul lifter for both the soldier and the person saying thank you. I am teaching our kids to say “Thank you for your service” to military members when they see them…outside of the base or they’d be saying it every second :)… I think it’s a great lesson to teach our kids.

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      What a special thing to teach your children. Thank you for all you and your husband do <3

  • Adam

    September 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    This is why I get angered when people protest wars by giving grief to soldiers. We should be thankful that men and women like your husband are willing to serve our country and protect us every day.

    Protest the people sending our troops to places you don’t want them to be, not the brave soldiers who protect us.

    So thank you to your husband and thank you to you for being the rock he can look forward to coming home to.

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      Amen. Well said. And while I understand it is their right to protest, it blows my mind that they would want to do it. :/

  • Jen

    September 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    As always beautifully written! That brought tears to my eyes, makes me realize that I need to say thank you more often.

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks Jen <3

  • Jen

    September 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    As beautiully written! That brought tears to my eyes, makes me realize that I need to say thank you more often.

  • Mrs. MidAtlantic

    September 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Not fair, making me cry! This is beautiful. I try to say Thank You to our service men and women… I will try harder.

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      It’s sweet you even think that.

  • Michelle

    September 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    It is so true! Simple acts of kindness go a long way!

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Yes! We are try to remember all the times someone has gone out of their way for us and repay it when we can.

  • Hanan

    September 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Okay, not that I am crying, jeez! What a very beautiful post! and THANK YOU to you and your husband ♥

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      <3 Thanks Hanan. ::hands tissue::

  • Alexia

    September 16, 2011 at 10:28 am

    This warms my heart. Every time I see a person in a military uniform I thank them. It is not something I even hestitate to do. Though I can only imagine how difficult it is to volunteer and leave your loved ones behind, I am so proud that men and women are willing to make that sacrifice to protect us. Glad that you and Sam have both felt the pride, love and generosity of us Americans that are truly grateful for you.

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      I think you are amazing. It’s the people like you that military service men and women never, ever forget.

  • cathy

    September 16, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Oh my gosh, why do you have to do this to me so early in the morning? lol. I love this post, my heart hurts a little bit! You guys are great

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Aw Cath-ems. What a sweet comment.

  • Alison

    September 16, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I love this 🙂 I am so grateful for same and all our military men and women that serve and protect us everyday. And a thank you to you for staying home and taking care of things there so he can go do that. Although…you get to stay home with Bella…and since she is the cutest child on the entire planet (I am not biased) it’s really more her doing you a service 😉 LOL

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      ROTFL – nice cakes.

  • Susan

    September 16, 2011 at 9:45 am

    You brought tears to my eyes Diana. I have to tell you a story about that. A few years ago I saw a u-tube ad that showed us how to say “thank you” to a military person without words. It was a gesture of your hand touching your heart and then bringing your hand, palm up, out in front of you. So I got up the courage to do that when I saw a military person at the airport. Every one of them looked at me like they had no idea what I was doing. So I finally said, do you know what I’m doing; they said they had not idea. I thought that this was the sign that all military knew, but no. So now I just thank them with words…

    1. Diana

      September 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      I actually blew coffee out of my mouth reading this. LOL. That was sweet of you anyway.

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