JS Tip 292: Say "Thank you" on Veteran's Day

Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting

** From the Leadership Workshops: “Thank you”

This tip is similar to a tip we wrote four years ago. It’s still appropriate. This was a tough one to write. It may be a tough one to read.

Next Tuesday is November 11th. Veteran’s Day.

The day was originally “Armistice Day,” the day World War One ended. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The end of the “War to end all wars.”

On Veteran’s Day, we think of those who served, and—sometimes—we think of those who didn’t come back.

These are the haunting last words of soldiers who died in battle:

“No sweat, sir. You can count on me. We’ll stop them.” (Specialist Fourth Class James K. Stoddard as he lay bleeding his life out, February 26th, 1968) “I’m okay. Just get us more ammo.” (Sergeant Jimmy Mayamura, continuing to man his machine gun after being shot four times and hit by grenade fragments, November 4th, 1951) “I know. I’ll be careful. But they need this machine gun up front.” (First Lieutenant Bob Arvin, September 5th, 1967)

Who of us have heard of James Stoddard or Jimmy Mayamura or Bob Arvin?

None of us. We’ve never heard of them before.

So how do we say “Thank you” for such service? For such sacrifice?

We can never say it effectively, because the service and the sacrifice are so overwhelming. But we can say it. We can just say, “Thank you.”

Without that expession, trust lags and fails. “If no one’s aware, if no one appreciates, if no one cares, why the [heck] am I doing this?”

Say “thank you” to a veteran, to a co-worker, to a friend. Appreciation builds the relationship.

(The quotations come from the column, “Let We Forget Those Who Earned It,” by David Hackworth, November 10th, 1998.)

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