Thank You For Your Service

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For Anne Lamb, ‘thank you for your service’ isn’t a veteran’s cliché. It’s personal.

Veterans' Day is no longer about buying a poppy from a gray-haired man in front of Safeway.

A year ago July my daughter and grandson moved in with me when her wife deployed to Afghanistan. Twelve months is a long time, and Heather resolved to hold the family close. She and Jacob baked cookies and shipped Adrianna special treats. Adrianna called every morning, at the end of her day-the beginning of ours. Every call ended with the same words: "I love you," and "I love you too."

I knew it was a dangerous deployment, and I thought about those movie scenes where officers come to the front door with terrible news. I prayed no one would come to our door, but on December 21st, they did.

The six troops were returning on foot from a meeting when a Taliban fighter drove his motorcycle into them and detonated an IED. Adrianna was in the village to build relationships in order to protect the people at Bagram. She was killed doing that job, and while I know she didn't want to die, I also know she was deeply committed to her work. She was willing to leave her 4-year-old son and her wife, and my daughter was willing to say goodbye and wait for her return. That's what military families do.


Adrianna was buried at Arlington. At services in Minneapolis and D.C. I saw, not uniforms, but proud and grieving individuals who served with Adrianna and knew and respected her-as an officer, a friend, an athlete, a lover of life.

Our last goodbye was at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where a mile-long line of service men and women stood at attention in the pouring rain. Paying their respects; knowing it could have been them; that someday it might be.

I speak to men and women in uniform these days. When I say "Thank you for your service," I understand, in a way I never did before, exactly what that means. I do, truly appreciate your service and your sacrifice.

With a Perspective, this is Anne Lamb.

Anne Lamb is retired and lives in San Raphael.

Anne Lamb also would like to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of all who were killed that day in Afghanistan: Adrianna Vorderbruggen, Joseph Lemm, Peter Taub, Louis Bonacasa, Chester McBride, and Michael Cinco.