Support Our Troops
I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual
steak houses that you find all over the country.
You know the type - a bunch of perky college
kids racing around serving long neck beers
and sizzling platters.
Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd
over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on
a group enjoying their meal. They wore no
uniform to identify their branch of service,
but they were definitely "military:"
clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that
"squared away" look that comes with pride.
Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the
empty seat where my husband usually sat.
It had only been a few months since we sat in
this very booth, talking about his upcoming
deployment to the Middle East. That was when
he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids,
come back to this restaurant once a month and
treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would
treasure the thought of me being here, thinking
about him until he returned home to me.
I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear
and wondered where he was at this very moment.
Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better?
Were my letters getting through to him? As I
pondered these thoughts, high pitched female
voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.
"I don't know what Bush is thinking about.
Invading Iraq. You'd think that man would learn
from his old man's mistakes. Good lord.
What an idiot! I can't believe he is even
in office. You do know, he stole the election."
I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them,
as they began an endless tirade running down
our president. I thought about the last night
I spent with my husband, as he prepared to
deploy. He had just returned from getting his
smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him
standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask
still gives me chills.
Once again the women's voices invaded my
thoughts. "It is all about oil, you know. Our
soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the
oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Humph!
I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill
without giving it a thought? It's pure greed, you know."
My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring.
I could still see how handsome my husband looked
in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my
finger. I wondered what he was wearing now.
Probably his desert uniform, affectionately
dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy
bulletproof vest over it.
"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone.
I don't think they are hiding any weapons.
In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to
increase the president's popularity. That's all
it is, padding the military budget at the expense
of our social security and education. And, you
know what else? We're just asking for
another 9-ll. I can't say when it happens again
that we didn't deserve it."
Their words brought to mind the war protesters I
had watched gathering outside our base. Did no
one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and
women, who leave their homes and family to ensure
our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is?
I glanced at the table where the young men were
sitting, and saw their courageous faces change.
They had stopped eating and looked at each other
dejectedly, listening to the women talking.
"Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to
invade Iraq, and I am certainly sick of our tax
dollars going to train professional baby killers
we call a military."
Professional baby killers? I thought about what a
wonderful father my husband is, and of how long
it would be before he would see our children again.
That's it! Indignation rose up inside me.
Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me
a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight
one voice will answer on behalf of our military,
and let her pride in our troops be known.
Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the
adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their
table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, I
smilingly said, "I couldn't help overhearing your
You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my
dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my
husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway
around the world defending your right to say
rotten things about him."
"Yes, you have the right to your opinion,
and what you think is none of my business.
However, what you say in public is something else,
and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule
MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all
the other fine American men and women who put
their lives on the line, just so you can have
the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive
commodity, ladies. Don't let your
actions cheapen it."
I must have been louder that I meant to be,
because the manager came over to inquire if
everything was all right. "Yes, thank you,"
I replied. Then turning back to the women, I
said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."
As I returned to my booth applause broke out.
I was embarrassed for making a scene,
and went back to my half eaten steak.
The women picked up their check and scurried away.
After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my
check, the manager returned with a huge apple
cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those soldiers,"
he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried
to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had
beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager
said they had already left, but that the gentleman
was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife
of "one of our boys."
With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to
the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler.
Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and
surrounded the booth. "We just wanted to thank
you, ma'am. You know we can't get into
confrontations with civilians, so we
appreciate what you did."
As I drove home, for the first time since my
husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone.
My heart was filled with the warmth of the other
diners who stopped by my table, to relate how
they, too, were proud of my husband, and would
keep him in their prayers. I knew their flags
would fly a little higher the next day.
Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways
to show their pride in our country, and the
military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe,
the two women who were railing against our
country, would pause for a minute to appreciate
all the freedom America offers, and the price it
pays to maintain it's freedom.
As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make
a difference. Maybe the next time protesters
gather outside the gates of the base where I live,
I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a
sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"
(*Lori Kimble is a 31 year old teacher and proud
military wife. A California native, Mrs. Kimble
currently lives in Alabama)
To those who fought for our Nation: Freedom has a
flavor the protected will never know.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
This is an email from a friend.
I thought it was a very touching story.