While waiting for his younger siblings to collect their treats, John, 7, my oldest grandchild, and I happened upon a U.S. soldier dressed in fatigues. The soldier sheepishly explained that his children insisted that he wear his uniform tonight.
Taking in John's costume, the soldier asked John if he wanted to be a fireman when he grew up. John replied that he wasn't sure as he stared wide-eyed at the soldier.
The three of us talked a few more minutes. Then, I leaned down and whispered in John's ear, "Say thank you for protecting our country." John did so immediately.
What happened next made me very proud of this little 7-year-old who loves candy with a passion. John quickly reached into his plastic pumpkin, pulled out a big candy bar and handed it to the soldier who graciously accepted it.
John's gesture of thanks was so spontaneous, so honest, and so from-the-heart. He showed a basic understanding that our soldiers should not only be thanked, but rewarded for their service. It was the opportunity that we all wish we had a chance to express our thanks and appreciation to all of those that protect and serve our nation.