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To the Man I Didn't Thank

My brother returning from a year in Iraq, hugging his wife.

As I walked out of the store, glancing at my receipt to double check it, my phone buzzed, indicating I got a text. I paused a few steps outside of the store doors to check my phone, my mind in ten different places as it tends to do when I'm without any children.

Voices penetrated my thoughts as I heard, "Excuse me sir, did you serve in the armed forces?"

Another man replied, "Yes sir. Used to."

At this point I glanced up in time to see the first man walk over, shake the other man's hand and say, "Thank you for your service."

I smiled as I caught the brief exchange, thinking to myself how neat it was to have witnessed it. I also wondered how the first man had known to ask the other if he had served in the armed forces. I confess that I figured it must have been the camouflage shorts the second man was wearing, or perhaps the army cut he sported... as if that were really a true indication.

But it wasn't until the men walked by me that I really looked. 

The right leg on the second man was gone, replaced by a synthetic metal appendage that allowed him to walk.

I stood there in surprise for a moment and by the time I shook it off, they had already walked into the store.

I wish I had noticed sooner, or turned around and gone back in, I wish I could have thanked him too. Because despite political opinions, the men and women who serve to protect this country and our freedoms deserve our respect for their sacrifice.

So to the man I didn't thank because I was too caught up in my own distractions:

Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Serene is a mom of five crazy kiddos who blogs about all her parenting misadventures at Serene is my name, Not my life! She is also a freelance artist so be sure to view her portfolio page!

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