People across the United States are eager to thank troops for their service, but direct encounters can leave these grateful citizens feeling unsure or awkward about how to show their appreciation. The Gratitude Campaign is working to fix that. This organization has created and is trying to spread the word about a universal hand gesture that means "thank you from the bottom of my heart." To make the sign, place your hand on your heart as if you're saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, pull your hand down and out, bending at the elbow, stopping for a moment near the belly button with the hand flat, palm up and angled toward the person being thanked. A video showing the gesture, and a text explanation of why the campaign does not use the traditional American Sign Language sign for thank you, is available online.
Help the trend catch on by using the gesture and telling others about it. And next time you're walking through an airport or at a ball game and you see some troops, stop and say thanks without uttering a word.
Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information. If you know of a program that is helping service personnel, veterans or their families please submit that information to Rita Boland, SIGNAL's news editor.