So I'm having a day off today with friends from out of town and we're hanging out at the inner harbor in Baltimore and exploring. To my great delight, a naval transport carrier was in port for a free tour. There was a crew of sailors there helping average citizens climb on board and scope it out. This boat is manned by a crew of 12 and is specifically designed to get marines and their equipment onto a beach head just like in the movie "Saving Private Ryan" on D-Day. I was thrilled to get to meet some real life heros up close and personal. You see, these men are fresh off a tour in the Persian Gulf. I was impressed with this little snapshot of the U.S. Navy. The sailors were very professional, polite and quick to answer my barage of questions. I personally thanked every sailor I encountered for fighting to keep us safe and free. I told them I appreciated what they do for us and that it means so much to me that they would be there to show what they do each day. Without exception, their posture got more erect, big smiles covered their faces, and they said they were thankful to be told that. One sailor told me he doesn't get that much in Virginia where they are stationed; I guess familiarity does indeed breed contempt. Another sailor told me how much it helps them do what they do when they hear that kind of encouragement and to have that kind of support! Are you kidding? Just because a random citizen said thanks?
Earlier in the week, I got to go to a luncheon at a local military base to honor their servicemen and women of the year. I managed to say thanks to about 3 soldiers and they responded the same way as above. I'm sad to guess this but I would say these folks don't hear "thank you" that much. I make it my practice to thank anyone I meet who is a veteren for their service to our country, again, backs stiffen, posture becomes erect and big smiles usually follow, with a humble word of appreciation in return.
Later on today, I was boarding a floating museum onboard a WWII submarine, the USS Torsk. I told the ticket lady who punched my ticket: "Thanks for working today so we can goof off." Again, she sat upright, smiled a great big smile and said "Oh you're so welcome." It thrilled me to see this young lady's response and I think I actually made her day.
Folks, saying thank you is important and it is something people don't do much of anymore. When you're out in public, just start saying thank you to people and watch what happens. It is especially effective for people who do the most routine things. Say thanks to the person cleaning the restroom when you encounter one sometime, say thanks to the lady at the checkout counter in the store, to your waitress, some street cop standing on duty, a fireman, an EMS person, and especially if you happen to see someone in the military. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our service men and women and first responders.
We as Christians ought to be a thankful people because of Jesus and what He has done for us. Have an "attitude of gratitude" and watch what happens. You'll find it will be a wonderful encouragement to you and the person you thank. I promise you'll be glad you did and this will be habit forming. From my little corner to yours....