Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Reason

I had the privilege of speaking to a new American about The Art of Encouragement the other day. As a military brat, I've spent my entire 23 years bleeding red, white, and blue. This conversation truly moved me; I realized how often Americans take for granted their freedom.

I was signing some Christmas cards in my free time and she asked "What are those cards for? Isn't it past Christmas?"

I replied with my usual short info-mmerical about The Art of Encouragement.

"Oh, so you get paid to do it. I see"

"No, no, no." I replied. "I do this for free. It's volunteer work"

"Why would you spend so much time doing that....for people you don't even know?" She asked me


"Because I want to give back to the men and women who have given me my freedom.  America didn't just become a free nation and stay that way. The reason that you and I can pick our jobs, live where we want to, shop with our friends, walk down the street...that is all because of the men and women who have served in the American military. They have defended our country against anyone who wishes to try to harm us or take our freedom away, and done so successfully. Without them, we would not get to do a lot of the things we do everyday."

"And they still do this now?"

"Yes. Everyday their are thousands and thousands of servicemen and women defending our country. Not just here in America, but all over the world."

"I guess I never really knew there were so many of them"

"Yep. So that's why I write these cards. Some of them are in hospitals or retirement homes at Christmas, and many of them don't have family or are unable to spend the holidays with their loved ones. I send a card so that they know someone is thinking about them at Christmas, even if they are alone. It's also a really easy way to say "THANK YOU" for all of the freedoms we get to enjoy because of them.


It wasn't the most profound conversation, but I got the message across. I'm not sure how long this women has lived in the United States, but I do know she has been a citizen for less than 6 months. She didn't grow up learning the history that is so ingrained within the average American. She is just now getting to hear the stories and learn the history of this great country, and she can now call it her own.
She didn't say much, but I could tell by the look in her eyes that a lightbulb had gone off.  Though I know she appreciates the freedom of America for her own reasons, she now appreciates it for a whole new reason.

Which leads me to the "REASON" for this blog. Why do we do what we do? What is the reason?

If you have ever taken the time to stop a veteran who is proudly wearing their hat in the local WalMart, or shaken the hand of a soldier in uniform, you already know the answer to this question.
Why do we do what we do?
The genuine look of astonishment, thankfulness, and pride that you see in the eyes of a military service member when you shake their hand and say thank you is undescribable. Our hope is that we would be able to stir that same emotion within each veteran that receives a card, package, or letter from us.

Why? So that every hero is thanked
Why? So that every hero knows that they are GENUINELY appreciated
Why? So they know their sacrifices were not made in vain
Why? So we can give back to those that have ensured our freedom
Why? So that we may have the chance to say thank you

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog! Don't forget to nominate your "HERO OF THE MONTH" for February. Nominations are due by January 31st at 11:59pm.

Ashley Hyde
Founder of The Art of Encouragement

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