JS Tip 84: From the Leadership Workshops: “Thank you”

Because of the timing (November 12th being the day after November 11th), this is a special Tip.

We’ll return to our regular discussions of language next week. We’ve got several people waiting for answers.

This was a tough Tip to write. It may be a tough Tip to read.  

Yesterday was November 11th.

Veteran’s Day.

Named first as “Armistice Day,” the day First World War 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 we think of those who did not 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 sorry. I won't be able to help you any more today. I'm gut shot. Hang on, and good luck.” (Radio message from a helicopter, February 27th, 1968)

“We need a medevac bad. Three soldiers are hurt bad by a mine. My legs are blown off. Tell them to hurry.” (First Lieutenant Charles Hemingway, June 9th, 1967)

How do we say effectively “Thank you” for such service?

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.)