A "thank you for your service" can go a long way this Veterans Day

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - On Thursday, women veterans were recognized at the Veterans Affairs Regional Office for their service.

Yvonne Charles, who served in the Air Force for about 20 years, said that recognition means a whole lot to veterans.

“What do they need? A thank you,” Charles said. “And I think a lot of us just appreciate a simple thank you for your service.”

After serving all around the world, she eventually found herself at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

“I was in the squadron when the AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) crashed,” Charles said. “So that took basically a year out of my life.”

Charles recalls investigations, reports, and accompanying groups to notify the families of the 24 onboard who died when the Alaska Boeing E-3 Sentry crashed.

“One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Charles said. “And it still sticks with me.”

Charles said that experiences like the one she had to experience with her squadron during the 1995 crash are why even a simple “thank you for your service” means more to a veteran than a civilian might assume.

“It’s the little things,” Charles said. “Folks might not think much of it, but it’s the little things that just touches us.”

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