We met you at Sam's club the other day. My very inquisitive 4 year old son asked you many questions. And while normally we consider this behavior cute and endearing, I'm afraid it may have taken you aback somewhat. The questions about your wheelchair and how you got there. Why you do wheelies and who you were fighting in the war. I hope you didn't mind too much.
What I really want to say is, when I thanked you for your service and got completely choked up, I just want you to be assured that my tears were not tears of pity. My tears were tears of a deep gratitude to you and your family for giving up the use of your legs so that the people of our country can feel safe and continue to exercise our freedoms.
My tears were tears of understanding that no amount of appreciation can begin to be enough for what you have suffered, and yet you did it willingly and still had a smile to share with my inquisitive son.
My tears were tears of knowing that I am but a breath away from losing one of three nephews, a friend, my best friend's husband, or one of many internet friends. That life is short and war is real and not everyone comes home whole or comes home at all.
Dear Soldier, thank you. Your sacrifice did not go unnoticed by this very grateful, proud, American woman.
I hold you in the highest regards,