A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Two days ago I was at the gym, just getting ready to start my workout and a man asked me why I was wearing his shirt.  The shirt he was referring to was a First Force Reconnaissance Company shirt that I wear fairly often.  I think I looked at him like a doe in the headlights and I replied, “I do photos for the troops on Bodybuilding.com.”  Now, that was an accurate answer but also wholly inadequate.  I’ve thought about that a bit over the last days.  I’m not a person who’s terribly verbally adept with strangers.  Unless I know someone well or I see them often, I don’t talk much. It’s just my personality.  I like to watch people for a while, be around them a bit before I feel comfortable with meaningful conversation.  I have no problem writing however and thought I’d give a more complete answer here.

I wear that shirt out of respect, appreciation and gratitude.  I’ve learned over the years that if you say thank you to a veteran or an active duty member of the military, particularly if they’ve had advanced training like Recon guys, SEAL’s or Special Forces the response you’re most likely to get is “Just doing my job” and then sometimes they’ll add a “ma’am” at the end.  That’s certainly true but they’re doing something WAY out of the ordinary.  I suppose they’re ordinary in that they’re sons, brothers, husbands and dads like other men but they’re hardly average citizens.  They volunteer for some of the most intense training on this earth so that they can go out and do incredibly difficult, dangerous and often thankless work.  They do it well and the stakes are their very lives. They’re the ones out there guarding the perimeter, doing the duty that lets the rest of us live lives of comfort.  Many years ago when I first joined bodybuilding.com I read a post from a Marine who had a tag line that read “The Marines are at war.  America is at the mall.”  It made a deep impression on me.  It’s true.  These guys do such a great job that many of us only think about our troops on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day…and sometimes not even then.  It’s a double-edged sword.  Do your job well and you don’t win adulation, more likely you’re forgotten because nobody is worried about their saftey.   A formidable military force that keeps the citizenry safe and secure is a wonderful thing but it also allows us to be cavalier.  It allows us to forget about our warriors.

Two years ago a Marine contacted me through Bodybuilding.com and requested I post a photo of myself wearing that shirt.  I was delighted to do so.  Not only am I flattered that anyone cares in the least what I have on my shirt, it makes my heart happy to think that my military tribute photos might make someone out there having a bad day, grin, even if just for a moment.  I want them to know someone at home (outside of their families) is thinking about them.  The photos I post on Bodybuilding.com are visual thank you notes to our troops.  I love doing them.  There’s an expression that says…. a picture is worth a thousand words…and I hope it’s true. 

To that Recon Marine in the gym….that’s why I wear your shirt.  It’s an honor….and thank you….

11 responses

  1. I came across this photo looking for some stuff, so sorry to bring up old news.
    Unless I can’t see the older comments which is likely the case, I don’t think anyone properly addressed why that dude came up to you and asked why you were wearing his shirt.
    In order to rate wearing the shirt, silkies, hoodies, or anything bearing any Recon emblems, you have to be in a physical relationship with a Recon Marine; depending on the length and status of the relationship, you rate certain things. The only way the relationship prerequisite doesn’t apply is if you went through the training and selection yourself (which is impossible as women are barred from entry into the Reconnaissance community via service).
    The Force Reconnaissance community is very, very small, more so than Battalion Recon…he was asking who you got the shirt from, because if you earned it, he’d likely know who you got it from.

    1. Hi! I’m glad you stopped by…and old news is still good news.

      You are correct, nobody told me the “inside baseball” story. Thank you for shining some light. I do try to be very respectful in my treatment of all things military. I never stopped to think about double checking the t-shirts (I often queried friends with military backgrounds about particular photos before publishing). I assumed that a request for a photo with a particular shirt was sort of implicit permission to have it. Most often, as it was in this case, the man requesting the photo offered to send me one of his own. I’m not comfortable giving out my personal info so I’d ask the guys to just direct me to a website that had a shirt I could order that would fill the bill.

      As a cool aside, there is a nice site called Vision Strike Wear, owned by a Marine where a couple of the guys were able to personalize the shirts and then the owner kindly sent them along to me free of charge. I have to say that it’s always been Marines who were most enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy my tribute posts the most.

      Once I explained why I had the shirt to the man who asked, he must have assessed it a fairly minor transgression. I saw him 3-4 days a week at the gym after that and we’d chat now and then. He’s not shy by any means so I guess it didn’t bother him. He’s actually a follower of this blog.

      Thank you for writing. I really do appreciate it. You must know I’m now thinking about my pretty big military t-shirt collection and wondering if any of the other groups or teams have the same “rule.” Geez….Lynnie AKA “Runaround Sue.” Ha, ha….

      Wishing you a wonderful Sunday!

      1. It usually applies to certain units and training. The 75th Ranger Regiment have a similar pattern in regards to how women earn such “trophies”. Use this rule of thumb: if you’ve got yourself a shirt or something from a unit or certain level of training, it’s best not to wear it unless you’ve been given it by a member of that unit. Look at it like stolen valor.
        Don’t feel bad about it; how’re you going to know if no one tells you?
        Thanks for the prompt reply and understanding!

  2. one more thing to add…….a thousand words would never describe how special you are. 🙂

    1. Oh my…I like that little smiley face and your wonderful words too of course.

  3. Thanks for being such a Blessing Lynn….and your right. Just doing our job Ma’am

    1. Hi Mess! Makes me happy that you stop by and read my posts!! Happy, happy end of the week. I already know you’re putting in lots of hard work so I hope you get a chance to put your feet up for a while this weekend!

  4. Thanks for your support! Semper Fidelis

    1. Ah…Hi Al! Thank YOU for stopping by and saying hi (and for your inspiration/part). Sending you wishes for an excellent end to the week…and a very happy weekend too!

  5. Very well said Lynn, thanks for doing your part for our troops. Troops, thanks for your dedication and scarifies.

    1. Hi Allan! It’s been a little while since I touched base with you. How are things going? This summer has been HOT…hope you’re not melting! I thought I might a few different times!

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