Somewhere along the line, it must have been drilled into me that it's important to say "Thank you". I can't remember any specific instances where my parents impressed this on me. I'm sure they did the "so and so did such and such . . . what do you say?"
The only memory I can think of on this subject is that of a sermon I once heard (and I honestly don't remember when exactly that was - it may have been one of my dad's sermons, but I was pretty young when he got out of the pastorate, so it more likely was later in my life) on the text Luke 17:11- 19. Jesus had healed 10 lepers, and only one came back and thanked him. In this particular sermon there was an emphasis on vs. 18-19, "Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
My kids can attest to how adamant I have been that they thank people. Writing Thank You notes for gifts they received was not optional. The rolling of their eyes was in no way a deterrent. My son once did his in recorded form, which actually went over really well. My sister saved his cutie patootie voice message for a very long time.
Gratitude for what our troops do to maintain our freedom is what is at the heart of 2 My Hero cards. I intend all of the cards I create to express gratitude on some level. Maybe not with the exact words 'thank you', but certainly implied. Gratitude and respect always go hand in hand. I know there is a huge range of military duties carried out every day, all around the world. Some are super intense, some are super tedious. Many are somewhere in-between. The level of intensity or danger is not the point. It all works together.
When it comes to expressing gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice, the words "Thank you" sound incredibly feeble and insufficient. I haven't found words that pack the punch that situation deserves. That's where tone, expression and all other non-verbal forms of communication become essential.
We have lost several troops already in 2016, and each is tragic. Each life sacrificed leaves a gap. I'd like to extend a heartfelt expression of gratitude to the troops affected by these losses, and to the families connected with each one. Appreciation doesn't erase the pain you feel, but I believe it is essential that you know that appreciation is deeply felt, even by people who don't know you personally.