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Featured in: Happy, Military/war, Sad(ness)

Thank you.

By: soma.pullela | Jan 19, 2016 - 09:38 pm

This occurred on April 4, 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area. While commuting to work this morning, I had just filled up the tank of my car and proceeded to post a picture on FaceBook complaining about the rising gas prices with my usual facetious comments. Lost in additional thoughts I was wondering about the rising cost of my kids' daycare, my next job as my consulting one was ending at the end of the week and a host of other things we each ponder in our lives. Then I came to a stop light and you pulled up along side of me. You rolled down your window and said, "Thank you for your service," as you had seen my Marine Corps sticker and Veteran's License Plates. I replied that you were welcome, I'm happy that I was able to serve and thanked you for your kind words. As we both waited for the light to turn, we small-talked and I learned that you had a son who joined the Marines, another the Navy and a nephew who joined the Air Force. I asked about the Marine and then learned he was killed in Iraq a little over a year ago. All I could muster was that, "I am truly sorry for your loss, sir. You have sacrificed what no father should." You replied, "No. The bigger thanks should go to you. You were the one who volunteered. Volunteered to lose friends. Volunteered to be put into harm's way. And volunteered to sacrifice your life. Seriously, thank you. Although I don't always agree with what our government does or where we do it, I always appreciate in all my heart what you guys and gals do." After hearing this and doing my best to maintain my composure to not tear up my like a newborn, the light turned green. I thanked you again for your kind words and wished you a good day. I was bitching about rising gas prices on Facebook and thinking about problems that everyone deals with day to day as I drove in my car on a blue sky, early 70s temperature on a gorgeous Spring day. I drove in that car to an air conditioned office where I get wear t-shirt and jeans, do my work, leave for lunch when I'm hungry and generally manage my own schedule as I see fit. Tonight I get to go home, relax at the gym, eat a nice warm meal, see my family, watch a movie and fall asleep in my warm bed. You lost your son in a violent manner and suffered what no parent ever should. You will never seen him grow up, talk about how his day went, watch a football game or work on a home improvement project together. You will never see him marry or have kids. You will never hold him ever again or even simply shoot the proverbial shit. And knowing all the above, between them both, you still insisted on thanking *me.* For humbling me and putting things into context, I implore you to allow me to thank you once more. Thank you.

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