Last week we picked Armydad up and brought him home so he could get his car for the long drive to his new duty station. We stopped at a fast food restaurant in a town about 20 miles off post. They had a play area. The kids had been in the car for 5 hours already and needed to play. I took the kids in to play while Armydad ordered the food and brought it to us. He said one person thanked him for being a soldier while he was in line. I figured being that close to a post, no one would notice or think twice. I was wrong!
That night, we stopped at a sit down casual dining restaurant when we got back in town. Armydad was still in uniform. During the course of our meal, 2 different men came up to Armydad, shook his hand, and thanked him for his service. Thing1 was puzzled by this. So, I tried to explain it to him. It was a fine line I was trying to walk. I don’t want him to realize that Daddy has a dangerous job and that some kid’s daddies don’t come home. But, I want him to be proud and to understand why people are thankful for soldiers.
I ended up explaining it along the lines of police officers. Soldiers are just like police officers. “Soldiers job is to make sure all of the people in our country are safe and protected. So, people might come up to Daddy when we are out places and tell him thank you. That is because Daddy is making sure those people are safe. When people say thank you to Daddy, we just sit quietly and wait until they are finished talking to Daddy.” I think he got it.