She was sitting alone, having some lunch, wearing a camouflage uniform. She was surrounded by persons with particular interests, some were eating, some were talking on the phone and others were simply writing on their laptops.
Minutes afterwards a young man, professionally dressed, approached her table and told her: “Excuse me, I just wanted to say thank you, for defending our freedom, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to walk in your shoes but, on behalf of my family, thank you very much for the great service you give us”. None of the others sitting near by noticed this peculiar and unusual situation.
It was such a subtle and delicate act, that it went unnoticed by everyone that was in the establishment. Immediately after having said those words, the stranger kept on walking as if nothing had happened and while he was moving farther away you could observe the impact such words had on the soldier.
Her face had transformed, her eyes crinkled up with happiness and were tearful at the same time and her smile was indescribable.
Moments later we observed how another gentleman, a bricklayer by the looks of him, approached her and asked her if she was feeling fine and she responded: “Yes, I’m fine, I’m very happy because someone finally recognized our efforts and sacrifices for the freedom we bring all of you”. The pride in her words and the happiness portrayed by her body language was a pleasure to watch.
That day I left stunned by the scene I had just witnessed since we were sitting very close by. It was that simple act that made us think about the hundreds of thousands of families from the United States and Puerto Rico that unfortunately will be spending this Christmas without some family member or loved one since they are in the Middle East.
At the same time, it left us thinking that it doesn’t matter if you are in favor or against war, if you’re a politician or a teacher, if you’re a sibling or relative, we are talking about human beings that sacrifice the most sacred thing they have – their life- for some freedoms, for a privilege called democracy.
This is a word not everyone is born with, since it depends on where you are born. It is an obtained right that unfortunately, those of us who are born with it take for granted, believe it is a free right, without considering who are its’ guardians, the soldiers. We don’t think that at this precise moment they are exposing their lives for us, even though we don’t know each other.
They are sacrificing being apart from their families for months, even years, and only communicating when they can by a cell phone or a computer!
Today we commit to make a simple act of humility and to recognize the work of each and every soldier with whom we meet, we will make a pause in our lives and will say thank you for giving us the freedom we so much enjoy.