“Thank you for your service.” I hear it all the time from persons once they know I am a veteran. Those are such kinds words to hear and it shows that people care. That said, I wish to reflect on some things concerning that particular phrase.
Before 9/11, no one ever said it, after 9/11, many have jumped on the “thank you for your service” bandwagon. I do not want to sound bitter, but it is a shame that it took a tragedy for people to start saying it. Did people not care before 9/11? Now that people are saying it, it makes one wonder how genuine someone is when they utter those words. Are they just saying because it is the right thing to do?
Some people feel an obligation to say it, why? Does it make their conscience better if they say it? Is there some kind of hidden guilt that gives them relief after thanking a veteran?
Truth be told, many veterans, not all, do not want to hear that. Many are angry because military service has damaged their lives, especially as it applies to mental and physical health. Then veterans have to deal with the number one enemy of the military and veterans, that is the Federal Government, specifically, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). You think combat was bad, wait until fight the VA. You know what the longest war in U.S. history is? It was not the Vietnam War, or Iraq War, Civil War, or even the Revolutionary War. For over 150 years, it has been the War on Veterans. The government of the U.S. has failed completely in meeting its promises to the military veteran. So, as far as “thank you for your service” is concerned, tell it to someone who cares.
Let us move on to the most irritating saying of them all, “We are so proud of what you do.” First, of all, do people know what it is we do? The military kills people. That is what war is, when one country, or organization, kills citizens of a country, or constituents of an organization. Once again, many veterans are not proud of that. Most who have served would prefer peace, but would pick up arms if necessary to defend what they think is right. If veterans were proud of what they did, then we would not have 22 suicides each day. Think about that.