Does it matter? Just ask the thousands of returning members of the military after a long deployment overseas away from their homes and families. At the Dallas Fort Worth Airport hundreds of civilians gather everyday to welcome them as they pass through this busy connecting airlines hub for soldiers headed west.
Here in Central California soldiers are met by people a bit closer to them at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
It's no longer unusual to encounter men and women in uniform in all kinds of public places: airports, shopping malls, anywhere actually. And perhaps you wanted to walk up and say thank you to those but it felt awkward.
California National Guard member and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose "Joe" Morale knows what that's like: "You can tell they want to say something to you, but they don't." That's where Scott Truitt's Gratitude Campaign can help. He wants to take the awkwardness out and put gratitude back in. "Scott Truitt, Gratitude Campaign Founder: I thought it would be nice if civilians had something that they could use to quickly and easily say thank you to military personnel when they see them out in public." Truitt started this web-based internet "Gratitude Campaign" to encourage and show others his simple way to offer thanks from the heart without saying a word or shaking a hand. It's simple sign of sorts. When you come across someone in uniform put your hand to your heart, drop it down and smile perhaps mouthing the words Thank You – a thank your from the bottom of my heart is what it means. Chief Morales likes the simple and direct idea of the sign and the Campaign. It was his twenty-five years of experience that compelled him to volunteer for a year at camp Arifjan in Kuwait. He joined a National Aviation Repair Unit Task Force to keep the Black Hawks flying safely in Iraq. "Chief Morales: It touches your heart and you know the American public's behind you, maybe not necessarily the cause or the mission, but the solider, they're there for you." Scott Truitt comes from a military family and deeply believes that service men and women deserve our support no matter what. "Scott Truitt: These men and women in the military sign up to support our country and they do that in a thousand different places in a million different ways and they've been doing it for over two hundred years and they all deserve our appreciation."
A nod and eye contact is all that's needed. A simple gesture from the heart says Truitt that says it all. "Even if you didn't know what it meant, if it comes from the heart you would assume it's a good thing."
Truitt wants to make one other thing very clear about the 'Gratitude Campaign': "No one is suggesting that people stop thanking those in the military verbally if you feel comfortable doing so." Check out the website for yourself and if you agree, pass it on with the link to this story.