Thank you: The two easiest words to say

  • Published
  • By Col. Jennifer Moore
  • 21st Operations Group commander
There's some room for debate if you ask someone, "What are the three hardest words to say to someone?" No doubt, you'll get a variety of responses, just like I did when I asked the question around the office. "I am sorry" is an oldie but goodie, as is "I love you." There's also "I forgive you," "I was wrong" (or as The Fonz would say, "I was wrrrrr") and even "I don't know."

While the best answer to that question may be up for debate, I submit that there's only one good answer to the question, "What are the two easiest words to say?" That answer is easy. The easiest words to say are those we don't say often enough -- "Thank you."

"Thank you" is a phrase with only two little words with one syllable each, yet it carries enormous power of affirmation and appreciation. For those of you reading this now who wear or have worn a uniform, think back to the times when a total stranger stopped you to say "Thank you for your service." Do you remember how it made you feel? It likely made you stand a little straighter, walk a little taller or even made you smile in the midst of a busy day.

In the spring of 2008, I was the recipient of a "thank you" like I had never received before. I was deploying to CENTCOM and had missed my connection in Baltimore. As a result, I was diverted to Atlanta to catch a rotator to Kuwait. It was a typical hectic day at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world's busiest passenger airport. Those of us waiting for the flight were directed to meet at the USO and prepare to move as a single group through security to our gate. To my surprise, as our gaggle readied to move out, an announcement came over the loudspeaker. "Ladies and gentlemen, just wanted to let you know that these men and women are all on their way to the Middle East." The next thing that happened stunned me. All traffic in the terminal stopped and people rose to their feet in applause. I've never felt so humbled and so proud to serve. It was a touching way for those folks to say a simple "thank you" to all of us for something we all volunteered to do. I tell you, it had a huge impact on me. The simple words "thank you" go a long, long way.

So, with the power of a "thank you" in mind and with the spirit of Thanksgiving still so close at hand, I'd like to send some "thank you" messages out to some ordinary people who do extraordinary things in our wing and around our base every single day.

"Thank you" to Miss Lena, the hardest working building custodian I've ever met. Lena takes great pride in her work and is already diligently at her tasks before a lot of folks even make it to work in the morning. She works without complaint, despite the fact that her job is never completely done. As soon as she's finished vacuuming or taking out the trash, the whole process starts over again. For her positive attitude, friendly smile and incredibly hard work, I say, "Thank you Lena!"

To the security forces and civilian Air Force police at the gates, "thank you" for the job you do day-in and day-out. There's nothing glamorous about your job; you're on your feet your entire shift and you maintain your composure even when folks are rude and argumentative. Regardless of the weather or the time of day, you're on the job. You are true professionals and you keep the base safe and secure. Thank you SF professionals! You're a real tribute to Peterson AFB and your profession.

Let me say "thank you" to the best emergency action controllers on the Front Range. The PICC controllers and I talk frequently and at all hours of the day and night. They are the critical link between the activities at our GSUs and the base leadership. If you ever get a chance to stop in and watch them at work, you'll be amazed. They're answering phones, talking to inbound aircraft, responding to emails and tracking operational activities all at the same time. They are patient with my questions and my grogginess in the wee hours of the morning. The 21st Space Wing would not function without our PICC controllers so to all of them I say, "thank you" for helping keep me and the rest of the wing leadership informed.

Finally, I want to say "thank you" to the execs and administrative assistants around the wing. Yours are jobs that no one notices when all is right and everyone blames when something goes wrong. You track the calendar, de-conflict appointments, complete staff package after staff package and sacrifice your own time to be at work when your boss needs you there. Your selflessness is second to none. "Thank you" for your contagiously positive attitude every day!

It's easy to be thankful this time of year and there's no doubt we each have much for which we are thankful. Unfortunately, our thankfulness doesn't always translate into a simple "thank you" to the people that make your life a little easier every single day. Maybe these shout outs have made you think of someone who goes about their job every day and without seeking recognition or a pat on the back. I hope you'll each take a few moments in this season of Thanksgiving to say the two easiest words in the English language, "thank you," to the people that do the thankless jobs without complaint. I guarantee it'll make their day and yours as well.