Yesterday I approached several individuals who I know wore badges as part of their work. Four work at the Federal Courhouse in White Plains, New York. The others work for the Chappaqua Police Department.
After introducing myself, I said to them
Thank you for your service.
Just five words. No more, no less.
I suggest each and every one of us should personally thank those who serve and protect us as often as we can. It takes only a few seconds to give this heartfelt thanks, and it will mean a great deal to them.
It will make their day. Every one will probably tell their familar later in the day that someone took the trouble to thank them for their service, and they felt quite proud when they received that thanks.
I asked the Chappaqua officers how long they had been protecting and serving us, and how many times someone not on the job had thanked them for their service. Twenty-four years, fewer than twenty times; four years, hardly ever; several years, not once.
These words are more than just the thanks from a client, for when you say them you will be acting as a volunteer on behalf of your fellow citizens who are also volunteers, giving credit where credit us due.
The key word of course is “service.” You don’t say “Thank you for doing a good job,” or “Thanks for helping out.” You just thank them for their service.
They who protect and serve us value few things more than service. That word defines their job, their character, and their life.
That is why the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard are called the “Armed Services.” Their members serve at the highest level. They willingly put themselves in harm’s way.
These words are also due all who help to govern us. Almost thirty years ago I served on a Federal Jury in New York City. It was a minor drug case, yet the Federal attoney was very good rendering service, and so called to the witness stand more than one officer from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Adminstration.) I knew each worked at a very difficult, life-threatening job, for a wage that was little more than marginal, yet as each spoke it was evident that they were among the best we had. Though as a juror I could not thank them, I said to myself in silence that we all should be profoundly grateful that they had taken as their means of service a profession that was as difficult as it was dangerous.
The Fallen Soldiers gave us the greatest possible gift — their life — in service to their countrymen. Almost all, including SSgt. Kyu Hyuk Chay have received disgracefully little recognition for their ultimate sacrifice.