By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.
I marvel at our men and women in uniform. These days, it’s hard to get kids to make this a career, so I have a particular appreciation for those who have dedicated themselves to protecting our way of life for decades.
They must work, even on the days we do not. Money may not be their primary motivator. They are dedicated and steadfast at their posts, doing the things we take for granted. The things we won’t do.
The best can be almost invisible. They accomplish often complex missions, directed by commanders who often second guess their own orders and then blame those that serve if they are not carried out to perfection.
They treat their team members, officers and civilians with equal respect, many concluding each interaction with, “It’s an honor to serve you, sir.”
What we don’t say often enough in return is, “Thank you for your service. Thank you for doing what you do, day in and day out, sometimes with too little appreciation and with singular commitment. Thank you for doing a job that we have purposely avoided, a crucial job, without which our nation would soon find itself in deep trouble.”
These are people who are instantly forgotten when they shed their uniform. Only a very few achieve significant notoriety. And they’re ok with that. They aren’t in it for the fame and certainly not for the money. Some do it only until something better comes along. Others do it because they see it as their only option. But most do what they do because they believe that “honorable service above self” is more than just a tired cliche. It’s a calling.
This holiday, you will cross paths with many of them. You may nod in gratitude or mechanically thank them for the important job they have done to protect the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed.
I hope you will do more than that.
I hope you will tell every server how much you appreciate them. I hope you will tell every one of those pros who used to be called “waiters” and “waitresses”, the people who generously give you their name with a reassuring, “I’ll be taking care of you this evening,” that you are genuinely grateful that they are there for you.
I hope you’ll single out the supervisors of those who are particularly good, to let the boss know how lucky the restaurant is to have them on the team.
Most importantly, I hope you’ll show your appreciation with the maximum possible gratuity that your holiday financial largesse is capable of providing.
The alluring aroma of a richly created menu, the spotless table that is prepared especially for you and the warm feeling that permeates your being as you leave the comfortable confines of your favorite restaurant. None of this would be possible, but for the dedication of those who serve.
It is, in fact, a rare gift. In its highest art form, it can create a happy memory that may last for a lifetime. There many who do it well and a few who practice their art to perfection.
For every server everywhere who will be working this holiday season. We give thanks.
LIfe would not be the same without you.