It’s Never Too Late to Say “Thank You”

A guest post by Operation Gratitude’s Director of Strategic Partnerships and Events, Vera Wagman:

Saturday July 28th, 2012 — It is said that it is never too late to say, “Thank you.”

A beautiful, warm day, not too hot for July, set the stage for the Vietnam Veterans of America/Region 9 Veteran Picnic. On the Grand Lawn of the West Los Angeles VA, a steady stream of Veteran service members, who had long ago served their country, made their way from their residences within the VA campus to the park.  Joining in the day’s activities were a handful of newer Veterans who had just come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, many on the long road to mending their wounds.

Operation Gratitude and several Veterans organizations arrived early to set up booths and welcome Veterans for a day of relaxation, food and making new friends.

Over 500 Operation Gratitude care packages were distributed to Veterans who were clearly moved by the gesture. Several Veterans stayed on during the day, writing letters which will be included in care packages for Operation Gratitude’s 2012 Holiday Drive. Many Veterans sat and wrote multiple letters, hoping that their letter would be read by a fellow serviceman or woman overseas — all of these letters in one way or another saying, “stay strong and come back home safely.” Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist and Special Olympics spokesman Rafer Johnson, pictured right, stopped by to write several letters to the troops as well.

Jack Knight, Operation Gratitude’s Morale Officer and Goodwill Ambassador, performed an original song that he has sung to more than 15,000 veterans over the years. As he sang, the audience became attentive. His lyrics convey the feelings of all Americans and the truth about all our heroes:

…Every time you put your life on the line
You’re a hero in my eyes.
Every time you go above and beyond
You’re a hero in my eyes.

No one joins up to be a hero,
But you are heroes one and all.
You’re the ones we trust and count on,
Always ready, standing tall.

(“You’re a Hero in My Eyes” — copyright Jack Knight, 2008)

It was a good day to remember that it’s never too late to say “Thank you” — a simple phrase with the power to heal across generations.

To see more touching photos from this day, visit our Facebook photo album: Never Too Late to Say “Thank You”

(Photos by Evelyn Brown. Thank you, Evelyn!)

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000+ care packages to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, their Care Givers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. Each package contains donated product valued between $45 and $100 and costs our organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.6 Million Care Packages.
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5 Responses to It’s Never Too Late to Say “Thank You”

  1. Pingback: Thanking Veterans EVERY Day… | Operation Gratitude Blog

  2. Pingback: Thanking Veterans for Their Service | Operation Gratitude Blog

  3. ssgt leslie says:

    amazing story, thanks for sharing. and yes, it is nevet late to say thank you, two words can make a big difference in both live’s, the one who hears and saying it. take care and keep up the wonderful work you all do…smiles….lizzy[service dog] and leslie

  4. raysrope says:

    Reblogged this on rope.

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