My husband and I just returned from three years in Germany. Overall, our local German community was extremely nice to Americans and very accomodating. Our on-post community was tight-knit and supportive, especially during deployment time. I felt lucky that most of my neighbors were going through the same thing I was. We have absolutely zero complaints about any of our surrounding communities, but one thing I think we missed out on was that great activity known as "support the troops."
Yesterday I took my parents to the South 21 Drive-In. (I'm a huge fan of Feasting on Asphalt, so I've been trying to retrace Alton Brown's footsteps wherever I can.) Our carhop was a delightful man who's been working at the drive-in for 40+ years. And his son is an infantryman stationed in Italy. We instantly got that military connection, and he began to heap praise on us. And my husband wasn't even there! He started bringing us free fries and drinks, and he kept saying that we military folks have to take care of each other.
It was fun to have someone single us out for being in the military. When my husband came home to Germany for R&R, he didn't get any welcomes at the airport or pats on the back in restaurants, as I've heard many stateside servicemembers get. Our American neighbors had their own soldiers to lavish with praise, and the Germans couldn't be expected to care one way or the other. So R&R and his return from Iraq passed with little fanfare. Obviously he couldn't care less and doesn't want anyone to fawn over him, but I sure get tickled when people do! I like when they show their pride and thank him for his service. I like when he gets recognition for the job he does. There's nothing I like better than to hear someone gush about my husband.
So, especially since he wasn't even with us at the drive-in, I was sure flattered to be treated special for being a military family. It's fun to see American civilians show their support, and not just when it means free fries! We love any show of thanks or attaboys you can give our husbands and wives for the job they're doing downrange.
Do you have any good stories about civilians rolling out the red carpet for your military spouses?