Stories of Everyday Americans’ Appreciation of Those Who Serve

For the past several years, I have been using the airwaves to encourage support for our troops. I tapped into our very generous audience through the nationally syndicated radio program that I co-hosted, America's Morning Show with Quinn and Rose.

       It all started one morning as I related my own story on the radio. I was dining outdoors at my favorite local restaurant. From where I was sitting I could barely see inside a doorway to a private dinning room. But what I could see were a few servicemen in uniform being led into that room. I thought it would be a nice gesture to ask their waitress for their bill. When she came outside to my table I told her I wanted to anonymously pay for their lunch.

       Now, remember, I saw about four or five guys go in and I figured it would be a decent-sized tab—but, I was feeling generous -- so why not? The waitress kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to pick up the entire tab. I said I was, and she agreed to let the guys know that someone who appreciated their service was treating them to lunch. When she brought me the check, it was suddenly clear to me why she had asked me so many times if I really wanted to do this. It turned out those four or five guys had joined about 15 others who had been seated prior to my arrival!

       To this day, when I visit that restaurant we still laugh about how surprised I was when presented with the check. While it was a surprise, I was very happy for the opportunity.

       While sharing that story with my audience, I realized I had a unique opportunity to promote something very dear to my heart—acts and messages of gratitude for our military men and women to thank them for their great sacrifices. Through our weekday morning broadcasts and our website I was able to encourage our wonderful listeners to get involved. E-mails and photos poured in with simple but heart-warming tales. It had a snowball effect and resulted in a steady stream of tales of giving back, which continues to this day unabated.

       My book “Thanking Our Soldiers” is the result of several years of collecting amazing “support-the-troops” stories. Many of the original contributors have asked to see these stories compiled in a form accessible to a nationwide reading audience. All of them have given their enthusiastic consent to having their letters included in this book. My listeners and I have all agreed that there is a vital need for something like this.  Even as public opinion ebbs and flows regarding our troop deployments in all parts of the world, we must never forget the debt we owe the men and women who protect us every day and spend time away from their loved ones in order to unselfishly serve their country.

       This book portrays a great variety of acts of kindness toward our military members, yet many are similar to my story above. These unique and personal stories come directly from the letters sent to the show. Each tells of an opportunity seized upon by quick-thinking, generous, and patriotic Americans. These are touching stories made ever more so by the responses—by both the givers and the receivers of these acts of appreciation

       For those who have perished in war—and those who remain in the battle— thank you. Thank you for loving our country, for our freedoms, and for our children’s future. Thank you for the blood that was spent on the preservation of those things we hold dear.

       The noted historian Henry Armitt Brown said of the Battle of Valley Forge,  “They … fought not for conquest, not for power, not for glory, not for their country alone, not for themselves alone. They served for posterity; they suffered for the human race; they bore here the cross of all the peoples; they died here that freedom might be the heritage of all. It was humanity which they defended; it was liberty herself that they had in keeping.”

       Those words apply every bit as much to our servicemen and women of today as they did to those of yesterday. How can we possibly begin to match in our gratitude what they offer daily in their service?

       At times, it may seem as though no act of generosity toward them could ever be enough. Yet, in this book, our simple acts are received with great warmth and appreciation. Many of us don’t know where or how to begin to say thank you. I believe this book gives us that place to begin.

       Thanking Our Soldiers opens with an inspiring, patriotic interview with country-music legend Charlie Daniels and ends with a list of organizations and websites that can be contacted by those who wish to pursue similar acts of support for our troops. Finally, I wish to thank my good friend Sean Hannity, talk-radio superstar and noted supporter of our military, for graciously agreeing to compose the foreword to this tribute to our military and the citizens who love and support them.

God bless our troops!

by Rose Somma Tennent

Here is One excerpt from the book that touched me- it comes from someone on the Receiving end of an act of kindness;

“God had a special gift for me waiting at the airport in Chicago.  After collecting my luggage from baggage claim, I was heading through the concourse to my connecting flight to Denver having just returned from Bosnia.  While walking toward the gate, several people gave me encouraging nods and thumbs-up approvals. 
Then, a little girl about five years, old jumped off of her seat where she had been watching the ground crews load the planes, and sprinted right towards me – then stopped abruptly.   Her mother, only a few steps behind was trying to figure out what the little girl was doing; she called her name but the girl did not respond, rather kept staring at me.  I looked at her mother, who shrugged as if to say; ‘I don’t know what she’s doing’.

Just then, the girl motioned with her finger for me to come closer, as if she had a secret to tell me.  I knelt down on one knee, and without warning – she threw her arms aroundme and whispered in my ear; ‘Thank you!’.