First time “Thank You”

Ever since Military published the article “Remember to say ‘Thank You’,” (Nov. ’10, pg. 30) the author, Brian Gay, has had several people say that he should collect these “First Time Thank You” moments and put them in a book. If you would like to be included please e-mail your story to Brian ( being sure to include your name, branch of service, city and state along with your phone number.

Your story may be edited, but you will be sent a copy of the edited version before it is published. The book will be along the lines of the “Chicken Soup” series of books. Here is an example of what Brian is looking for.

From Stanley Skinner, Ottumwa, Iowa, US Army:
“It still amazes me how every so often, some total stranger will thank me for my service, in ‘the Nam!’ I will never forget the first time that it happened to me. I was at Methodist Hospital, in Des Moines, Iowa. My brother, Rod, and I were there with our stepmother who had just had a surgery for clogged veins in one of her legs. For some reason that I can’t recall, Rod was not present when the following occurred.

“I went outside for a smoke. A young woman, maybe 30 years old, also came out for a smoke. She saw my Viet-Nam veterans cap and immediately thanked me for my service, and asked if she could give me a hug! I was totally flabbergasted! Before I could even reply, she had her arms around me! Then she told me that her father had died in Viet-Nam, and she always made it a point to thank a Viet-Nam vet! I immediately, burst into tears and was literally, crying like a baby!

“She thought that she had said or done something wrong. I told her that in almost 30 years, nobody had ever thanked for my service, and that it really had dug into my heart! This was in 1998, and since then, I’ve had several people say ‘Thank You!’ to which I always reply, ‘No, I’m thanking you”!”

Stan explains that he gives that response because he feels that if a person comes forward to thank a Viet-Nam veteran, he should thank them back for the “Thank You” that they just gave him for his service. “It sure means a lot when it happens.” Stan said.

For that reason, to this day, when Stan sees a person in uniform, or wearing a cap designating that they were in the military, he will always offer his hand, and give them a “Thank You”! And it makes no difference what war, or for that matter, if they were even in a war!

Stan goes on to say, “They are still veterans!”