Five years after founding The Gratitude Campaign, I've received over 10,500 e-mails, and 1,500 comments on YouTube. It seems that there is a lot to talk about with regard to gratitude for those who serve; not the least of which is the ever present challenge of understanding how to keep the politics out of it. Hopefully this blog will give us an opportunity for some rational, reasonable, and respectful discussion. I hope you'll join us...

~Scott Truitt, FOUNDER


Thursday, April 1, 2010

On Being Disconnected

I recently took a trip to the East Coast, and what I witnessed in the airports along the way was somewhat disheartening.

If you’ve read any of the Story of How This Began on our web site, you know that I started this campaign as a result of an experience I had in an airport. I observed a Soldier in uniform, and the civilians staring at him but not saying anything to him. I decided that civilians needed a “salute” of their own that would make it easier, and therefore more commonplace, for them to express their gratitude toward those who serve to defend our freedom. It seemed somewhat unfair to ask a man or woman to serve, requiring them to wear a uniform in public places, and then stare at them in that uniform, but not tell them what’s on our minds – not share with them how much we appreciate their service. Thus making them question what’s behind those stares, making them feel separate from the rest of us dressed in our civilian clothes, living our civilian lives.

On this trip, some eight years later, I noticed something even more disconcerting: Not only were people not connecting with those who serve, they were not connecting with anyone at all. As I sat in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport waiting for my flight home, I watched as hoards of people shuffled from gate to gate, hustling and bustling amongst their fellow passengers – their fellow human beings – but not seeing them as anything more than an obstacle – an inconvenience keeping them from making it to their next gate as quickly and easily as they’d like to. There was little eye contact, few “excuse me’s”, and “please” and “thank you’s” were rare – even between people who were talking to each other. Or perhaps I should say, talking at each other.

I’d like to encourage you to observe how often you behave like this in public. How often do you feel disconnected from your fellow man? As though everyone around you is just an obstacle that you must work around to get what you want, or get to where you want to be. It is this culture of isolation and disconnection that leads to the miscommunication and distrust in our relationships, both locally and globally, that then leads to conflict. Next time you’re feeling that way, take a deep breath. Pause for just a moment, and observe the people around you. Consider what their life might be like – what they might have on their minds. Consider how much like your life theirs might be. Consider how much you might have in common with these people. And treat them like you would like to be treated in that moment. Acknowledge them. Respect them. Look them in the eye, and notice what you see. You just might be surprised to find that you see… yourself.


  1. I got an email about two years ago linking to your site and the videos. For whatever reason, I didn't click it until today. I just want to thank you for all you do to remind people to be human.

  2. Our local newspaper, The San Angelo Standard Times posted a wonderful "Unusual Experience" Letter To The Editor on April 2, 2010 and it can be read if you click on:
    I didn't know how else to get this through and I hope this works.
    M. Sue Moore

  3. Funny, talking about being "disconnected from your fellow man".....thru a blog! Technology has helped to shape the pattern of disconnect amongst people. The more we rely on it, the less we remember how to interact with others.
    Keep up the good work Scott!

  4. Anonymous:

    ...the irony is not lost on me. Neither is the fact that your comment was "Anonymous". Send me your name and phone number, and we'll chat about this directly. ;-)

    All the best,

    Scott Truitt

  5. Excellent post Scott! I have a website that is trying to address the growing problems of isolation having been in the trenches of suicide prevention and crisis intervention. Loneliness, isolation and feeling disconnected are the main factors of suicide. We have become insensitive to the human condition of loneliness and it's many negitive and destructive effects.
    A side note - I was recently at (Lax) Los Angeles Intl. terminal and spoke with a couple of Army soldiers and let them know how much I appreciated their service to our country. They had just return from Iraq. Keep up this wonderful work. I know how much your Gratitide Campaign is valued being a veteran myself! My website is www.alonelyworld.com.
    The Gratitude Campaign is listed under U.S. Service Members Links and on my Memorial Day 2010 post with a link to your YouTube video. . Best Wishes, Richard.


One of the things that we at The Gratitude Campaign are most grateful for is our Freedom of Speech. But with Freedom comes responsibility. We ask that you keep your comments constructive and respectful to others. Disagreement is fine -- in fact, we celebrate it. Let's just show that we can disagree peacefully and respectfully.

Out of respect to the families of those who have served and struggled, please do not use last names when referring to Service Members. Posts with last names may be removed.