Showing posts with label veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label veterans. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

10 ways to thank a veteran for their service

Almost every time someone discovers I'm an Army veteran they will inevitably, at some point in the conversation, say, "Thank you for your service". 

I admit, I prefer thanks to chants of "baby killer" and accusations of being the tool of a fascist government.  

But all too often it's easy to see that the phrase is just a "feel-good" reaction, lacking any emotion or sincerity. It's as hollow as the "God bless America" that ends every political speech by every U.S. politician that has ever mounted a podium. 

My advice, as a veteran, is this: stop saying "Thank you for your service" or any similar trite, politically popular bullshit. 

You sincerely want to thank a veteran? Here are ten things (there are many more) you can do that will make every veteran's sacrifice and service worthwhile.

  • Vote
  • Defend and protect your family, friends, neighbors and children
  • Get involved in social projects that help less fortunate Americans: Provide jobs to the unemployed, provide shelter to the homeless and food to the starving 
  • Get your news from journalists, not commentators and entertainers
  • Champion honesty, compassion, empathy and generosity
  • Promote justice and the equal treatment of all Americans
  • Take care of our country; don't litter or waste resources
  • Don't give away your Constitutional rights for political expediency 
  • Understand we must work together to solve national issues
  • Realize that everyone who contributes to bettering our society is just as worthy of thanks as any veteran
In short, thank a veteran by working to improve the life of every American citizen, including yours. The American people are who we fought to defend and protect.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A veteran's thoughts on Veteran's Day

I was going to take advantage of Applebee's offering of a free meal today, and Golden Corral's offer tomorrow. This two-week period is one in which I have very little money left after paying rent, and since moving to Virginia and enduring several months of unemployment earlier this year I have no savings to speak of, so a free meal would help me stretch my budget. But reading about Applebee's CEO's threat to hurt his employees because of the projected costs of offering them basic health care I decided not to avail myself of something that only decreases his profits more and gives him more justification for his actions. I also won't be eating at Papa John's since their CEO wants to make a political statement at the expense of his employees. These CEOs receive excellent compensation and live in luxury (Papa John's CEO's castle), yet they choose to sacrifice their employees rather than lessen their own wealth. I can't be a party to that. I refuse to do something that will disadvantage another person who's economic situation is likely similar to my own. 

Another factor in my decision is that I joined the military for my own reasons. I was given an excellent education during my enlistment, I was fed, clothed and housed for free or at a low cost subsidized by American's tax dollars. I chose to enlist and serve. I do not need to be thanked for doing what I chose to do. It isn't rational to try and make my service, or anyone else's, an act of sainthood. A lot of Americans protect and serve our country; the police and fire department men and women, utility workers, doctors and nurses, teachers and yes, even honest and conscientious politicians. Where are their free meals? Where are their holidays? 

Not every member of the Armed Forces is a hero. We have medals and awards for those few who risk their own lives in the performance of truly heroic actions. We lessen the importance of their sacrifice when we call every service person a hero. 

I'm not special, I'm not unique, I'm not a hero. I'm like thousands of other Americans and thousands of other current and former soldiers. We go to work, we pay bills, we're thankful that, while we don't have much, we have more than our brothers and sisters who are unemployed and/or homeless. Those are the Americans who need a free meal.