Tracy Talks: Simple thank-you speaks volumes
by Anne Marie Fuller / For the Tracy Press
May 24, 2013 | 3027 views | 7 7 comments | 98 98 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Words have the power to uplift and encourage — or tear down and crumble a person’s feelings or dreams.

Words can be engaging, as one dives into a new book, or informative, as one comprehends written words of knowledge. Famous words strung together — such as ”ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” spoken by John F. Kennedy during his inaugural address in January 1961 — are forever recorded in the notes of history.

As this column appears in print, our nation will be observing Memorial Day weekend. This is a time to reflect and say “thank you” to all the men and women who have served our country.

Those humble words — thank you — have the power to bring a smile to a veteran’s face or an acknowledging tear to a grieving soldier’s family.

Last week, I caught up with a local veteran, Joe Podrasky, while I was reporting on a story taking place within the Little Arlington section of the Tracy Cemetery. When I asked Joe about his service in the Air Force and what it meant to hear the words “thank you,” he was immediately overcome with emotion.

“Those words mean so much,” said Podrasky, a veteran of the Korean War. “Thank you to the ones that sacrificed their lives for us. I think about Pearl Harbor, those that didn’t even have a chance and I’m also so thankful for being here. It’s nice to instill in the young ones Memorial Day and to teach them to say thank you.”

Growing up in a military family, I have learned great respect for the men and women that serve our country and am thankful for all they have given.

This Memorial Day, the community will have the opportunity to say those emotional words of thanks to our local veterans. The Tracy Cemetery, 501 W. Schulte Road, will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. May 27. During the ceremony, wreaths will be presented at the gravesite of the Unknown Veteran of Past Conflicts. Rep. Jeff Denham, U.S. Air Force veteran, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

Traditionally, many service groups, such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, have been a part of this annual event. Members of such groups will often help put American flags by each veteran’s grave the Saturday before Memorial Day.

“We do this out of respect for our veterans,” explained Rob Costa, who is the committee chairman for Boy Scout Troop 525. “This is a way to say thank you and that we support them and their sacrifices.”

Girl Scout Troop 1119 Leader Cindy Silligman has been a part of this event for the past 11 years now. Silligman originally started when her daughter was in kindergarten, and today, her daughter is a sophomore in high school.

“The Girl Scout promise includes the phrase ‘to serve my country,’” Silligman said. “Honoring our veterans, both fallen and those still living, is one way we can serve our country.”

As we reflect this weekend and remember our veterans, let us not forget the sacrifices they have made for our country and their families. The price of freedom is not free — but the simple act of speaking one’s thanks is. For our veterans, the humbling kindness behind those two words is priceless.

Thank you, veterans — this weekend we honor and remember you.

Today’s column is dedicated my grandpa, a World War II veteran, who died two months ago. Today, Grandpa, I remember your service to our country and our family. Gone, but never forgotten.

• Columnist Anne Marie Fuller is the television host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie,” which can be seen on Cable Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. She is also the chairwoman of the Tracy Arts Commission and holds the title of Mrs. Central California. She can be reached at

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May 28, 2013
In my opinion none of us should wait for Veteran's or Memorial Day to thank and remember those who served and died for the rest of us. To me as a very proud American and one who's studied our history to a greater extent than I believe most of my fellow citizens, I honor our veterans and current military personnel every chance I get.

I believe it's a disgrace there are so many people in this country who have very little knowledge of our history and how close we were to never becoming a country or possibly splitting in two. It's also pathetic so many Amercians don't even know the country from which we declared our independence, or what decade in which the Civil War was fought.

None of us are perfect but if people want to honor those who spilled thier blood and served, do it everyday by the way you live. I'm not talking about some Puritan type existence, just be a decent law abiding person and appreciate what you have as an American. Work hard, don't whine, treat people with respect, get educated, learn about those who came before you and the sacrifices they made. Whatever you do don't become one of the stupid, rude, & oblivious who seem to now permeate out great nation.
May 28, 2013
Well said. BIB. Far to few Americans really comprehend how good they have it.
May 28, 2013
While there is nothing wrong with thanking veterans for their service to our country, that's not what Memorial Day is about. It's about remembering those who have died in wars serving our country.

There is a another special day set aside to honor and thank veterans for their service appropriately called Veteran's Day.
May 28, 2013
Out of th remainin 363 days in th year are two days ta remember those who died, who happen ta also be veterans, remembered? Do we only "memorialize" those who are dead?

Sorry monsterdad3k but I find yer post rather shortsighted an rude. But even though I don't agree with th theme of yer complaint I recognize an appreciate yer right ta air it.

FYI, many men who fought in wars servin thair country carried thair wounds fer th rest of thair lives, were thair contributions any less deservin of remembrance an memoralized? Don't know about you but when Veterans Day rolls around I remember all of those who sacrificed thair lives on th battlefield an not just those who carried thair wounds, mental an physical, fer th remainder of thair natural lives.
May 28, 2013
Did you not read about the message the article is trying to get across? Saying thank you to our veterans. I come from a gold star family and find your comment very offensive! I was at the service held yesterday and everyone that spoke talked about the veterans that died serving and about those still serving. It's right to say thank you to our veterans both past and present and those still serving. The message of the article is a strong one and the right one!
May 28, 2013
Just to be clear, my response comment was in reply of that of monsterdad3k.
May 25, 2013
In Memory

by Renee Bagley

A day to commemorate those who died in military service..

They died for our freedom and right to live

Giving all they had to give

They died as heroes defending a cause

They rose victorious defending our laws

We honor veterans on Memorial Day

Visiting memorials and giving remembrance.

To all our Veterans, past and present...Thank You.

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