Here’s a special message from WPX CEO Rick Muncrief, who spent several years of his career living and working in the Farmington area. Pictured is WPX employee Dustin Wold who has survived two roadside bombs.
Does this sound familiar – “thank you for your service?” I know I’ve said it to Veterans before, and quite honestly, I didn’t think about it too critically or wonder how it might be received. It just felt like the right and honorable thing to say. And I truly meant it.
But I got to thinking about it more after seeing this column published online by a retired Air Force colonel and Vietnam Veteran who spent more than six years in POW camps, solitary confinement or isolation. That’s more than 2,000 days of torture and trauma. Just think about the courage and endurance it took to sustain such suffering.
His comments are enlightening. I hope you’ll read the full version of his letter. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt:
“Our military is a mercenary force made up of 0.5% of the population and paid for by self-contented Americans – some of whom passively watch our flag disrespected by individuals earning millions more than those who go in harm’s way.
“That self-contentment applies to civilians who say “thanks for your service” as uniformed servicemen pass by them in an airport. It does little. It may give a civilian 15 seconds of satisfaction to think that they made a meaningful impact on a soldier’s day, but a real impact would be saying “thank you for your sacrifice” or “because of you, America is safe.”
After I heard that, I immediately started wondering if I’ve ever said “thanks for your service” in a casual way. Maybe we’re all guilty. And maybe the letter’s author would have been right in saying “self-centered” instead of “self-contented.” It’s really easy to get wrapped up in our own world while others are fighting for us a world away.
But here’s the good news. There’s no statute of limitations for declaring our gratitude to those who served AND sacrificed. And let’s be clear, all service involves sacrifice!
Talk with any Veteran and they’ll tell you their story. They’re all across the company at WPX in Aztec, Carlsbad, Killdeer, New Town and Tulsa. They’re mechanics, engineers, accountants, safety specialists and leaders.
Veterans, thank you for your sacrifice. You’re worthy of honor and respect beyond anything our words can ever express. You’re a hero because of how you gave of yourself to protect others, including me.”