Thank you for your service

lifestyle-thank-you-for-your-serviceDecember 24, 1944. A young American soldier stands guard outside a bombed-out shelter that he and his comrades are using as a resting place for the night. The winds are howling, and the frigid temperatures send a piercing chill down his spine. Soon this almost unbearable feeling leaves his body as his mind begins to reminisce about his family at home.

There’s Mom in the kitchen with his sisters preparing Christmas dinner while Dad and his brother sit at the table smoking their pipes and strategizing how the poker game will be played that night. The Christmas tree lights up the dim corner while the record player bursts out the soothing voice of Glenn Miller.

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Bill Beckman (courtesy of the family)

In the distance, a distinct humming sound enters the room, snapping the soldier to reality. Quickly he realizes the origin of this foreign sound. It is a German BF 109 fighter plane heading straight toward him to deliver an early Christmas present. Life quickly returns to his frozen legs, and he finds shelter under a truck. If he had stayed on memory lane a few seconds longer, those fond Christmas memories would have been his last. It was at that point that Bill Beckman realized that he had found himself in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge.

My grandfather was fortunate enough to return to the United States from the largest war the world had ever seen. He settled down, got married and raised a family. He found employment in the insurance industry and retired within this same industry.

But he continued to hold a fond passion for the country he fought so bravely to protect from the wrath of a Nazi regime. He never asked for medals or free meals. All he ever wanted was a simple “thank you for your service.”

So the next time you receive a package, have a nurse complete your checkup or meet with your insurance agent, be cognizant that some of these individuals had a past life in the Navy, Army, Air Force or Marines. They wear many styles of clothing, but their patriotism and love for country shine through the thickest of dress coats and uniforms, the bluest of scrubs and the fanciest of dresses. A simple “thank you for your service” shines greater than any medal and satisfies more hunger than the largest of any feasts.


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12 Responses to “Thank you for your service”

  1. John Shedd

    Chris, Thanks for sharing this story. My Dad served in the South Pacific during WWII and never shared too much about his experiences. Real stories like this are helpful for me.

  2. Eric Leedom

    Chris, thank you for posting the story about your grandfather. My son commissioned last weekend as a 2Lt. in the U.S. Army, his first salute was rendered by his sister who is in the U.S. Air Force. I am very proud of them and forever grateful they have chosen to protect our great nation. Those that choose to serve are truly special.

  3. Teresa Wade

    Many veterans in my family from all branches. Thank you all for your service!!

  4. Anne Susa

    Wonderful story thank you for sharing!

  5. michael harrold

    Thank You. I too have a daughter in the Marines and two nephews in the Navy – proud of all of them. Just a note – you forgot the Coast Guard. Since 1915, by that name, in times of war, or at the direction of the President, the Coast Guard serves as part of the Navy Department.

  6. Stephanie Luma

    Chris, thank you for such a great story! Thank heavens for our brave service men and women, my oldest daughter being one of them. She’s currently serving aboard the Naval Destroyer ‘USS Hopper’. Thanks to all for their service to our country, keeping family and friends at home safe and sound!

  7. Cindi Hollerbach

    Wow, what a touching story! We tend to forget those who have protected us in the past and those serving the present. Thank you for sharing and thank you tor all those families that sacrifice, so we can stay safe!!

  8. Mark Plunkett

    Thanks for posting, Chris. We can never thank our veterans enough!

  9. Kelly Lindemuth

    Thank you for sharing this heart-warming story.

  10. Gale Hawkins

    My whole family has served from the Korean War to Afghanistan. It means a lot to have someone thank you for a selfless gift. We had the opportunity to appreciate the Veterans of an Honor Flight. You could tell that they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love in that airport. Thank you so much for this post.

  11. Scott Boden

    I enjoyed this posting. God Bless the USA and those that have faithfully and graciously served. My father, father-in-law, and brother all served in the military and I always take time to say “Thanks for your service” whenever I see someone retired or active duty in public.

  12. Mike Drinan (retiree)

    Chris, a great article about your grandfather, a member of our “Greatest Generation”. As a Vietnam era veteran myself, my father was also a WWII veteran, as a member of a B-17 crew flying out of Berma, India. He didn’t talk about it much, unfortunately, but understandable. We can never forget about these true heroes!

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