Monday, May 9, 2011

Shake Hands with a Hero!

Thank you to Procter & Gamble, Kroger and the USO for sponsoring this blog post and the Shake Hands With A Hero initiative. Please click here to learn more about this program. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Last month, we went to the horse races. Everyone knows the Kentucky Derby, but Lexington locals flock to Keeneland Thoroughbred Racing and Sales for the 4-week spring meet and the 4-week fall meet.

Military Appreciation Day at Keeneland always falls on a Sunday during the month of racing and always features recent basic training graduates from the closest military installation, Ft. Knox. Hundreds of men and women who have survived rigorous training, isolation from loved ones, and complete re-molding pour into Keeneland for one day at the races.

 Taken with our point and shoot and not the big fancy camera, you can just barely make out a line of Soldiers on the inside track at Keeneland.

And it is our opportunity, as a local community that supports them, to thank them for their service…buy them lunch…offer our cell phones so that they can call home for the first time…prove that they are appreciated for the sacrifices they have already made and the ones they will be asked to make.

 Marching into Keeneland as we stand to salute them. Via Keeneland

Except…I never do. I am shy and I admit that it’s completely ridiculous. How can I encourage other civilians to openly thank our troops if I can’t do it? And I'm an Army Wife! As Soldiers spilled out of Keeneland on that atypically tropical April day, I wanted to clap…I wanted to scream thank you…I wanted to hug one or two or all of them. But I was paralyzed by the thought of being the only one. What if everyone looked at me like I was an idiot? What if I wasn’t supposed to do that while they were moving in formation? So, I stood still and at attention, showing them all the respect, but doing so silently.

I have had several readers over the past couple of years tell me that they suffer from the same paralysis. They see a Soldier in the Atlanta airport and they want to shake their hand, but fear of looking like a bumbling moron stops them. They give them a nod instead and move on. Neal tells me that Soldiers see and appreciate that nod, too. They appreciate any recognition of their service to this country. And now, Procter and Gamble, Kroger, and the USO are giving us the opportunity to virtually “shake hands with a hero.” The first 50,000 grateful Americans to utilize the Microsoft app at Honoring Our Heroes to shake a hero’s hand will receive a coupon loaded to their Kroger card for $1.00 off a P&G product. Do it for the coupon. But also do it because it’s our first step toward physically shaking a hero’s hand.

In addition to providing this opportunity to thank our troops, Kroger and its family of stores and Procter & Gamble are teaming up to support the USO and donate $250,000! We utilize the USO almost every time we travel…from picking up books to take on the plane to grabbing a snack during a layover. Many servicemembers in transit also nap, eat, read, watch TV, and call loved ones at the USO, which is staffed by volunteers. This is in addition to the extensive range of programs at more than 160 locations in 27 states and 14 countries, and at hundreds of entertainment events each year. I am proud of Kroger and Procter & Gamble for choosing such a worthy organization to receive their time, money, and recognition. 

So, now it's your turn. Grab the button for your own blog, tweet it (#shakehandswithahero), Facebook it, share the love. But above all, click on the badge below to shake hands with our nation's heroes. You will be asked to enter your name, city and state, and then choose the military branch that you would like to honor. Once you have chosen a man or woman to thank, you can share it with your friends! The entire process takes 2 minutes and don't they deserve that given their lifetime of service? Thank you and HOOAH!


  1. You know what? When I see a soldier somewhere, I never shake their hand either. I want to. I want to run up and practically accost them, but I can't seem to do it.
    We don't have a Kroger but I'm going over to that site anyway. I wanna shake a hand.

  2. I agree with Mimi...I never really say anything when I see a soldier, even though I want to. I always feel too shy or awkward to go up and thank a soldier or shake their hand. I know that they wouldn't think I'm a dork, but I would feel like one.

    We don't have a Kroger either, but I'm going to the site also. And the next time I see a soldier...I'm going to put on my big girl panties and go up to them and say thank you.

  3. I work in a building that has military coming in and out all the time, and I always want to say something...but then I don't. Which is ridiculous.
    So this is a great idea!

  4. Haha you are too funny! I was really shy at first too, mostly because I was afraid I would start crying because in thanking them I think of my husband and how much I miss him and how I hope that when he was traveling strangers reached out a hand to thank him. So thats why I do it. And I cry (just a little, more like tear up) and then I stopped caring if I looked like a fool, and found it worth it because it means so much to them, and thats more important than whether I emabarass myself. But hey, I embarass myself so often (for a wide range of reasons) that I am used to it! Haha!!!!

  5. Very, very cool! They ARE heroes!!!!

    Did you know the world was ending in 12 days??? FOR REALS!

    (not really)

  6. I'm having a little trouble comprehending the I Am Shy statement. I can't picture it :)

    I understand though, I have a hard time approaching since just seeing someone in uniform, especially at the airport, always gets me choked up. I do offer up a friendly smile though!

  7. I'm a crier, too, but I did manage to buy a coffee for a soldier in Starbucks once. I'll try harder - promise!

  8. I get so emotional about this and I appreciate you posting it. I don't have any friends or family in the military but still I get very tearful about our soldiers.

    Thank you

    That is all

  9. I don't have Kroger, but it let me do it as an other. I chose army in honor of you and your hubs!

  10. I posted this story a few months ago... I can't remember exactly... I will have to go back and look.

    Anyway, in an Economics class I was teaching, a young lady made reference to having served in Iraq within a question she was answering... and I just missed it. It wasn't until later in my office that the light bulb went off... and I thought, "DOH!"

    The next class meeting, as I was calling roll, when I called her name and she answered, I said something to her along the lines of, "You said something I missed the other day... have you been to Iraq?"

    "Yes, sir, I have... twice..."

    I made a couple of comments and then thanked her for her service to our country... and the entire class gave her a standing ovation... I was so surprised... she just beamed.

    We don't do enough...

    The environment we give our military today is totally different from what they received during the Viet Nam years...

    God Bless...



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