A couple of weeks ago my family and I went to San Antonio to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. There’s so many things about that city I love. It’s almost like visiting another Latin American country without having to leave the U.S.
For those who have never been to San Antonio, the San Antonio River runs through the center of San Antonio. Along the river is a walkway. I’m not sure how long it is, but probably several miles long. The Riverwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels. They all have kind of an old Spanish charm to them with a lot of Spanish, Mexican, and Texas history thrown in. Additionally, San Antonio is home to at least two military bases. There might be more, but I don’t know.
One day while we were walking along the Riverwalk, there rose up a loud uproar with cheering, clapping and hollering. As we look down the Riverwalk, there was a steady stream of uniformed military personnel walking along the Riverwalk. I would guess more than a hundred people. Everybody stopped and stepped aside to let them pass. You could see on their faces they were a little embarrassed with all the fanfare because it was so loud and showy.
I’m guessing all they wanted to do was shop a little and eat at some of the restaurants and enjoy the day, but the clapping, whistling, screaming, and cheering was going on and on preventing them from staying in one place very long.
This got me to thinking a little.
The vast majority of people serving in the Military don’t serve in direct combat roles. There are base guards, doctors, lawyers, MP’s, maintenance personnel, toilet cleaners, cooks, warehouse personnel, etc. All serving in one branch or another of the U.S. military. Without a doubt, however, the people in combat roles wouldn’t be able to do their jobs without these people serving in non-combat roles. It takes everyone in the military working together to make it all work. No job is ultimately less important and all jobs are required to be done properly or someone loses their life.
I’m well aware it takes a certain kind of toughness and guts to put your life on the line for others. Something I probably don’t have. I’m glad others have it so I can enjoy much of the life that I live.
But what if we extend that to all of our society? What about the aerospace engineer working long hours while his family life crumbles so our military personnel can have the best? What about the woman working two jobs to raise her kids after the father left so one of these two kids can grow up and become one of these honored military personnel mentioned above? What about the unseen people who cook our food, wash our cars, maintain our power lines? What about the IT people who work all night long creating internet communication sites, Twitter, Facebook, and cell phone networks so the families of those same military personnel can hear from their loved ones? What about morticians or sewer workers? Aren’t you glad someone does those jobs?
Every role in life we find ourselves in, no matter what our individual job may be, is important. While I’ll acknowledge that getting shot at is a whole lot less appealing than working in the aerospace industry or as a server in a restaurant, they’re all important roles nonetheless.
Though our military personnel deserve our honor and respect, I feel the fanfare displayed that day on the Riverwalk was a little over the top. Though we have no way of knowing, it would suffice to say that some of those same people standing that day clapping and cheering had only moments before treated their waiter or waitress like crap. Maybe only moments before had stepped off a water taxi and failed to tip the driver or had complained to their hotel staff that something wasn’t perfect.
Everyone who works for us and does our “bidding” performing tasks we can’t or won’t do deserves to be treated with respect. Deserves to be thanked. Deserves to be acknowledged. Not in an overly flamboyant way, but a simple thanks, or a larger than normal tip, or even a handshake while looking them in the eye.
Everyone. Not just our military personnel.