Honoring Our Troops: A Perspective

Ben_Hogan_PicBy Jay McCall On March 14 in Fort Hood, Texas, I had the privilege of serving our troops at the Ben Hogan Classic, a concert and golf tournament honoring U.S. soldiers and veterans.

The annual Ben Hogan Classic is held in memory of golf legend and World War II hero Ben Hogan. The tournament gives soldiers and their families a day off, and allows the community an opportunity to show its appreciation. Two hundred soldiers, family members, retirees, and Defense Department civilians registered for the golf tournament, and nearly 3,000 attended the pre-tournament concert.

One thing that struck me is how incredibly appreciative the soldiers were for the smallest act of service towards them.  The menial tasks of carrying their golf bags to the cart, handing out a drink, or simply saying thanks, were always met with such genuine appreciation.  Once again, I found myself humbled by these extraordinary people: not only had they shown me what true service and sacrifice means, but they overwhelmed me with their appreciation for us.  It was moving.

I think many Americans, like me, are extremely thankful for our military servicemen and women and what they have done for our country, but struggle with how to show support on a personal level.  It has become almost too easy to ‘like’ a “Support Our Troops!” campaign on social media, or to stand up and cheer at a sporting event to show our gratitude. These displays, while important, still lack that personal connection with our troops – the direct demonstration or communication of appreciation.

But, as I quickly learned, it can be as simple as looking a soldier in the eye, shaking her hand, and saying thanks.

I am grateful to the Ben Hogan Foundation for providing me, and other civilians, with the opportunity to serve and personally say thanks to our troops. Hopefully I won’t wait until next year to say it again.