Before I get to the gist of my tale, I would like to say that, prior to 9-11, I was never thanked for my service. Since then, quite often. Usually by other veterans. Not always, but usually. If it's a veteran, I return the salutation. If not, I just say thank you and you're welcome.
I ride with the Patriot Guard Riders and we escort the "Wreaths Across America" convoy of wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery every December. The escort takes a week and we make 20-30 stops at schools, Veterans homes, etc.
On the 2007 escort, one of our stops was at a grade school in Maine. It was about 25 degrees and snowing, but all the students were standing outside, waving flags to welcome us. In the attached pictures, you will see all the children are holding something in their hands. These were hand made "Thank You" cards, that they all had made. And, as we were getting ready to leave, every person in the convoy, was given one. I can tell you, there weren't many dry eyes as we pulled away.
I'm happy to say, that this type of reception is not unusual. It's the norm. That year we had about 50 people but only one Tractor trailer with 5000 wreaths. Now we have 150 folks, a dozen trucks, a bus with Gold Star family members and various police, fire and other support vehicles. And enough wreaths to cover Every grave at Arlington. My point being, there are teachers, in our education system, who get it and are instilling that respect and appreciation for our Veterans to our children.
Sgt Bill Michell