Put a Smile on a Veteran’s Face – Thank Them!


Cpl Daniel Yarnall


Sarah Zsembik, Staff Writer

Saying “thank you” is a very polite expression in which shows how one person acknowledges something they have received. It is used across the entire world everyday, every second of the day, amongst all people of all cultures. However, many people are forgetting to acknowledge one very important group of people. These specific people have contributed greatly to this wonderful and free country we know as the United States of America. They have put their lives on the line for the 390 million people who live freely in the USA today. These gracious and valiant people are what United States citizens call (war) veterans.

Veterans are people who have had long experiences in a particular field, in this case, the military. These brave men have risked their whole lives to defend the country they love and the innocent people living in it. They have traveled thousands of miles to fight off totalitarian leaders and their armies. Some of them didn’t even return; they faced the unfortunate consequence of death. Their families either received heartbreaking news or relieving news such as their son or daughter would be returning home. Whether they were returning home or not, they took a very big risk anyway. Years upon years after returning home, these veterans were rarely acknowledged or remembered for their courageous actions. Even after the 50-year-anniversaries of these famous wars, they still aren’t being acknowledged by Americans.

The simplest words can make a Veteran’s day. I am 100 percent positive that they will smile or shake your hand. I work at a local Grade A in Newfield. Veterans always shop for food at this store. I see men of ages 40 to over 90 wearing caps that mark the war they served in. My mother always told me that I should thank a veteran when I see one, so whenever see one getting his food checked out, I walk up to them and say “thank you for your service.” Sometimes saying this completely shocks them, leaves them in their tracks. One time a veteran was in my line to pay for food. I noticed that his hat marked the Vietnam War. I immediately said thank you and he sighed, saying, “Wow, I haven’t heard that in a long damn time… They used to spit on us, call us pigs… those hippies.” I was saddened to hear that. Whether people wanted that war to happen or not, it still happened and those men went forward to fight.

Another time I thanked a 91-year-old man who served in World War II. He was awestruck that a 17-year-old girl would even remember such a war and recognize a former soldier. I’m sure that he too hasn’t heard a simple “thank you” for defending our country in a long time. Some of the men who fought in the two world wars didn’t have a choice to fight or not! The ones who didn’t volunteer were forced to put on a uniform. If it weren’t for these men, the American people would not be free. We would most likely be living under totalitarian leadership, suffering in an oppressed government, speaking German and more innocent people would be executed for their religious beliefs. Nobody thinks about the alternative situation, for example, if the United States didn’t win the war, or if we never went to war! What would the United States be like today if those alternatives were the results.

I kindheartedly advise everyone to thank a veteran next time they see one. Please warm up an elder’s heart. It doesn’t take much to say two simple words and to leave a man or woman smiling with pride. Shake their hand, thank them, and make them feel special and honored for the heroic actions and choices they made. Whether old or young, retired or serving, thank them for what they have done. They impacted our lives greatly, gave us the most essential necessity a human should have, freedom, and we should be absolutely thankful for that. Thank you veterans, for everything you have done to allow us to live in the greatest and freest country in the world.