So, I had just arrived for my recurrent training--somewhat tired, hungry, and very stressed about the upcoming four days. Recurrent came at the worst possible time, and I'd had no where near the time I wanted to put towards studying. [As it ended, I did OK--not "Great", but good enough for another year.] I was standing there putting away the change I'd received for my airport food-court meal, and I looked behind me. There he was.
I see soldiers in the airport all the time. Usually, they're like everyone else--hustling to get themselves from one gate to another as they make their connections. I've never seen the public applause that has been depicted in the beer commercial, but don't doubt that it happens. I've always said that if I had the opportunity, I'd buy a meal for a soldier, and this was my chance.
It didn't go quite as I had imagined. I would prefer that the soldier be three or four people behind me, and that I'd just leave a reasonable amount of money for his meal and then walk off. I don't want his thanks or his protestations that my act isn't necessary. I don't do this for him. I do it for me. If the purchase of his meal makes his day go just a little bit better--that's fine. But the reason that I do this is to make my day go much better. I feel so inadequate in expressing my thanks to those serving our country. My real inadequacy is that I haven't figured out how to express my thanks to the many anonymous spouses/parents/children who are equally serving our country. They are bearing a burden that I cannot imagine.
Anyway, this soldier was right behind me, and I did not have the opportunity at the anonymity that I had wished for. He did thank me, and went on his way.
I'll do it again the next chance I get.