Do You Know What Those Families Have Experienced?
I think most companies try to offer a special discount to our miltary and veterans... Relative Theory Genealogy is no different. All year long there is a 20% discount on the researcher fees and for the November period of 6-16 that doubles to 40%. I'm not going to lie - this has raised some concerns for some people. They ask why I would discount so much and worry the effect it would have on a small business. This baffles me. Not so much that I don't understand their concern but more because I have to ask them, "Do you know what those families have experienced?" I wonder if we as a society just wash over the reality because it's routine and we just don't get it. The military families have to live life without their spouses, children, parents, grandparents and/or siblings for portions of their service. They have the everyday worry and fear of what will happen next. Not having the support of your family or spouse when you really want and sometimes need it is huge and requires strength and faith. It's something I believe is taken forgranted by those who don't live it. The military member themselves, well now that is another viewpoint. The experience you have as part of the military isn’t one that can be replicated with any other experience. The trust, respect, laughter and relationships you have with your fellow service members are not easily describable. The moments you share, the secrets, and the fears are known well by your comrades, though most don’t discuss those stories when they talk of their service. It’s like a private under layer to the stories veterans often tell. A veteran will probably spend more time thinking about those who served than talk about them. It's not a sign of disrespect or forgetfulness. It is the respect and the honor for their unit, their battle and quite often for the general public. Most do not want to know the 'real' story, even if they say they do. Veterans rarely want to know it themselves. Every veteran has that moment they think of something they saw, heard or were a part of that (good or bad) they shake off and keep going with their daily lives, as if it were some sort of code to just carry on in silence. This isn't taught - it just is how it goes. While each service, country and war is different all are taught the same honor, respect and unfortunately sacrifice. Most of these families are living this life with a fraction of the income of a civilian. Treat your veterans and military, shake their hand, say thank you. Send them a card, buy them a cup of coffee, a tank of gas or even a meal. The small tokens of appreciation all year round will mean as much, if not more, than the one day recognition in November because it came from your heart. When you thank your veterans the respect you show them must be whole hearted. It is important that you remember, you will remind them of a time in their life very different from a civilian and for most, another lifetime ago. They will have a lost colleague, a moment of sadness, orders they followed while their own hearts disagreed; they will have moments of pride, joy and remembrance. All the emotions brought to the surface when you honor them. Be patient, be respectful. Don't push for stories or make them relive it. They will share what they are able, if they choose to. So while I will offer a double discount to these families in November understand I do so as a resepct. These families have an interest in their family history as much as any other and this is what is within my power to do to honor them. Remember, that woman with the screaming children, may not be just an exhausted mother. The old man in front of you in the grocery line, may not be just an old man. They may be veterans! I'm proud of the eight years I served and all of my friends who literally served beside me. I'm proud of my great-great grandfather who served and all his friends beside him. Thank you to everyone who I served with, before or after.