I’ve got a question for you: When was the last time you really took a moment to think about the brave, courageous and selfless men and women who put their lives on the line every day for you, me and those around us? Those who are so unbreakable, unflappable and so unafraid, yet, along with their families, are far too often undermined, unaided, unnoticed, and underappreciated for their sacrifices. So, let me ask you that question once more: When was the last time you really thanked a hero?
As I’m collecting all the thoughts and questions that have crossed through and embedded themselves in my brain over the last eight months, I realize this could be my pièce de résistance. This could be my moment to get it all out. This could be the moment I tell you what it’s like to receive a news alert telling me two rockets struck the compound at which my fiancé is currently deployed in Afghanistan. This could be the moment I tell you what it’s like to feel the sheer terror and panic that sent shockwaves through my mind and body as I frantically tried to reach him on the phone, praying to every saint in this universe that he was sleeping soundly in his tiny bunk away from all the comforts of home. This could be the moment I tell you what it’s like to think the U.S. Air Force Captain, the orthopedic surgeon, the best friend I have on this planet whom I’m engaged to marry could possibly perish and come back to me in a wooden box. This could be the moment I tell you what it’s like to grow fiercely angry thinking it would be in vain, and there wouldn’t be a soul in this world who truly appreciated, understood or cared that he was willing to sacrifice his life for the freedoms that are now completely taken for granted. This could be the moment I tell you what it’s like to finally hear from him, crying tears of joy and thanking the heavens no one was hurt.
But this could be the moment I tell you what it’s like to see the hurt in his eyes when we do FaceTime as he tells me he hasn’t heard a word from his so-called best friends, too busy to take a second from their nightclub-hopping schedule to send a note of support. Then maybe you’d understand the hurt I feel, too. For our nation’s incredibly brave active duty and retired military, police officers, firefighters and first responders, a simple “thank you” and acknowledgment of their sacrifice can mean more than you’d ever imagine. And you might not imagine how much a seemingly meaningless bit of recognition, word of kindness or display of emotion can make those of us fighting behind our hero at home feel like we’re not alone in this daily battle against constant worry, either.
Now, I’m going to ask you again: When was the last time you really thanked a hero?
This wasn’t intended to be about me or my fiancé in the slightest. But I hope it made you think a little bit about the meaning of life if you haven’t stepped foot in the combat boots that fight our country’s wars, had to pull a weapon in a dangerous and life-threatening situation, run into a burning building at full speed or save the life of a dying person at a moment’s notice. And if you’re one of those admirable people who stepped up to do the jobs so many disregard and disrespect, thank you for doing the jobs that those others bypassed because they lack courage. And thank you for doing it with honor. If it were easy, everyone would do it. And that’s what makes people like you – along with your family – our community’s heroes.
It’s not just me thanking you, though. It’s your greater Atlanta area Toyota dealership, Toyota of McDonough, too. With the all-new Hero Package at our Lithia Springs store, special perks and other Toyota Discounts for active duty and retired military, police officers, firefighters and first responders are just a small way we’re now showing our appreciation. Here’s what our community heroes are eligible to receive – and how we’re giving a bit back, too:
- Special discount pricing on new or pre-owned vehicle purchases
- Free oil changes
- Parts and service discounts
- 10% off warranties and maintenance plans
- $50 donation to charity
Whether or not you’d like to learn more about the Toyota of McDonough Hero Package, I hope reading this testament to the brave men and women of our community and nation has made you pause to think about those who are sacrificing for us at this very moment. Perhaps you’ll pause long enough to say “thank you” to one of them, too.