Skip to main content

(I am a disabled veteran, long discharged. The following projects what my feelings would be if I were still in uniform today.)

I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I wear a uniform proudly. Sometimes you see me wearing it in public -- on the street, in the mall, at the airport. And sometimes you, a complete stranger, will say to me: "Thank you for your service" or "Thanks for all you do."  

I know you mean well. I know you want to express your appreciation that I have made many sacrifices to wear this uniform, that I have been put in harm's way, that I am prepared to give my life in your defense.

But, please don't thank me for my service.  Don't.  Don't thank me for all I do -- because I am not serving you, I am not doing anything for you. Not anything at all. I am not keeping you safe. I am not protecting you from any external existential threat. There are no external existential threats to our country.  

The only threat to our country and to our way of life comes from within our own borders.  From plutocrats and the politicians they own.  The politicians who sent me and my brothers and my sisters into harm's way for no purpose.  To conflicts where thousands of my brothers and sisters died.  Where tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers and civilians died (but who we don't count because they don't count because they are not like us). The same politicians who even when I return, even when I am out of uniform, continue to use me, continue to use my pain to manipulate the very people who elected them into voting against their own interests, into voting to send me and my brothers and my sisters to kill and to be killed.

I serve because I love the idea of America, of freedom, of democracy, of opportunity.  I serve with some of the finest people I have ever known.  I follow the orders I am given and go to the places I am sent because I respect and trust my chain of command.  My commanders and those I in turn command are courageous and honest and they have something that few people have -- they have integrity.  But those at the top -- the powerful who wield our military as their blunt instrument of destruction -- they have used the military and they have used me for their own deeply corrupt ends.

If you want to express your appreciation for my service and for all I do, do something for me. I have held up my end of the bargain. I am prepared to give my life in your defense. If you want to do something for me, if you want to do something for me in return, hold up your end of the bargain. Don't let me be sent to fight and die for no reason. Don't let me be tossed on the trash heap when I return from far away battlefields. Heal those wounds that I have on my body, on my mind, on my soul -- those wounds I have received because I believe in the true idea of America and because I believe in you.  The wounds that I received because my ideals have been manipulated and used against me and used against you and used against imagined and fabricated enemies and used to further enrich that tiny sliver of our society for whom no amount of wealth can ever be enough.

I am an American fighting man. You are an American citizen. You also wield a powerful tool. You have a voice and you have a vote. It might seem small and you may think you will make no difference. And you may have been manipulated by the messages you hear in the media about the world around you and about our society. But your voice and your vote, with your neighbor's and their neighbor's and their neighbor's voices and votes, those can make a difference. Those are more powerful, more meaningful, more effective than the empty words of hastily tossed "thank you." America is its people. Our government is of the people, by the people, for the people. It is not for the ruthless and privileged few.

Next time you see me -- and you will see me. Please don't thank me, don't thank me for anything. I am an American fighting man and I am proud to be an American fighting man. Don't thank me. Do something for me instead. Do what you have the power to do because you do have power and you can make a change.

Originally posted to Mage11an on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (128+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, fcvaguy, weneedahero, Catkin, KateCrashes, 88kathy, bkamr, Youffraita, Smoh, purplepenlady, politik, AJayne, cotterperson, Cartoon Peril, Rosaura, happymisanthropy, PhilJD, grover, OldJackPine, gfv6800, poligirl, post rational, daddybunny, janis b, blueoasis, Fresno, BlueZone, wonmug, flycaster, emperor nobody, Elizaveta, jparnell, akmk, Lurker in the Dark, janmtairy, Mr Stagger Lee, Portlaw, Aquarius40, Rusty SpikeFist 2, Mayfly, Risen Tree, Preston S, Pat K California, mcgee85, slowbutsure, ksuwildkat, TheMeansAreTheEnd, onceasgt, Sunspots, bobatkinson, TheDuckManCometh, clinging to hope, fugwb, NearlyNormal, pickandshovel, Simplify, Unitary Moonbat, Tool, BeadLady, Nowhere Man, silverlining4002, xynz, hooktool, dougiemac in WA, Raggedy Ann, enhydra lutris, nomandates, postmodernista, cjo30080, annominous, out of left field, jasan, BeninSC, marina, OllieGarkey, Militarytracy, Naniboujou, BlackBandFedora, NonnyO, WakeUpNeo, just another vet, sawgrass727, lotlizard, lunachickie, 2thanks, SoCalSal, wasatch, Shockwave, YucatanMan, Skyye, eashep, harchickgirl1, Dyana, johnrhoffman, VeggiElaine, Hirodog, triplepoint, Mostserene1, on the cusp, countwebb, flatford39, JourneyInside, some other george, hwy70scientist, VTCC73, Ninepatch, Angie in WA State, maregug, WearyIdealist, lenzy1000, Da Rock, frostieb, JayC, expatjourno, smrichmond, hungeski, AllTheWayWithLBJ85, Lujane, redwagon, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, Daulphin, Dburn, pixxer, jm214, worldlotus, This old man, wishingwell, kfunk937
  •  "thank you for your service" (19+ / 0-)

    is oftentimes a way for wingnuts to feel good about voting for war and voting against help for Veterans.

    Its patronizing and self-serving, for many.

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:23:40 AM PDT

  •  I'm glad you wote this. (23+ / 0-)

    I've often felt like it was a patronizing sentiment.  Yes, put the thought into the voting booth, into action which affects the veterans in a positive way.  Supporting the troops isn't just a magnet.   I live in a red military town which is sadly out of touch with any real understanding of veteran needs.

    What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. Crowfoot

    by Catkin on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:35:32 AM PDT

  •  Bravo; in the midst of yet another VA scandal (18+ / 0-)

    it seems the veteran gets lost.  I note the scandal a few years ago at Arlington Cemetery.  I remember when bases were closed more or less wholesale during Bush I's tenure and also remember the many hoops you have to jump through, particularly if you are an older vet.  for example, you need to hang onto your DD214 as if your life depends upon it because if you belong to the pre-computer age generation of vets, chances are all your records are paper, stored in banker boxes and left in a basement.  From memory, I seem to remember a large number of records that were destroyed or damaged by fire quite a few years go.

    The nation needs to live up to its bargain.  At one time, the GI Bill was a great deal for returning GIs.  It is still a pretty good deal for those who lack the funds to go to college.  However, it is not as sweet as it once was.  The nation made  deal with its vets that in return for their service, in some cases going into harm's way, they would receive certain benefits.  Those benefits are changed or modified on a fairly regular basis.  Now my understanding of contract law is that any modification has to be agreed to by both parties in writing, unless you are a vet and trying to get your fair share of benefits.

    Immediately after VN, vets started showing up with what we now know is PTSD or the late effects of  Agent Orange (2,4-T and other herbicides).  The VA denied PTSD existed though it has been in the medical literature since the Civil War and noted by Roman and Greek historians in their day and age.  They also denied Agent Orange was harmful (I remember a guy claiming he could take a bath in a drum of Agent Orange with no ill effects)  Persistent lobbying by various vet groups have changed some of this but I still note that some members of Congress continue to claim the veteran groups are only lobbying groups to push for additional vet benefits.

    OK too much already for a comment but I hope I have hit some of the highpoints  

  •  Prepared to give your life in my defense? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snoopydawg, LaEscapee

    To protect our way of life?
    Is this a commercial?
    "The Global Force for Good"!!.
    No don't thank me either, I know what it was for.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:40:58 AM PDT

    •  It is something we all memorize (18+ / 0-)

      Those words are part of the "code of conduct" that we all memorized (at least in the day).

      And yes, maybe it sounds over the top treacly, but I was prepared to give my life, naive idealist that I was. (And whether it was for real or illusory ideals, I almost did.)  That is part of the deal when you put on the uniform.

      And that is the whole point -- I had these ideals, I bought the story -- and despite how it has been corrupted there is something there -- something worth protecting.  But there isn't any actual threat to protect against -- and if there were, it certainly was not where we recently spent so much blood and treasure.

      Those ideals are often used by those who don't hold them to manipulate those who hold them -- the same thing happens often with religion -- as with the current unholy marriage between the plutocracy and evangelical Christianity.

      •  And yet you criticize the voters w/the same ideals (0+ / 0-)
        •  I did not intend to criticize any voters (19+ / 0-)

          Although perhaps couched in terms that may seem to have been directed at those who offer the thanks, my real criticism is for insincere thanks, particularly when used as a conscience salve or used in lieu of doing anything substantial - and for those in power that deliberately and cynically manipulate those holding such ideals.  Privatizing VA care for example is a monstrously cynical and evil idea.  The goal is not to do this to provide better care for veterans but rather to siphon yet more money from the 99% to the 1% - aided and abetted by the government under the deceitful cover of doing better by our vets.  Sending our young men and women to the Middle East to kill and be killed, exploiting their idealism - and the voters idealism - with the pretense that somehow fighting those fights was protecting our country and our way of life.  These ideals are being used against all of us.  I am not criticizing any voters for having those ideals. I am - apparently less than effectively - trying to point out the disconnect between the ideals and reality.  With the hope that voters will express their thanks at the voting booth, in letters to their political representatives, in conversations with friends and family - in ways that will keep society's end of the bargain - and which, hopefully, will be what will in fact protect our country and our way of life. Again, the threat is not external and it is not military.  The threat to our democracy is in the structures of corporations, government, and media that are coordinating and concentrating power and wealth in the hands of just a few.  And using our ideals against us to do it.

          •  That's not how your diary reads (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kalihikane, Angie in WA State

            I'm nearly 50 and never served.   I was raised to always thank those in uniform.  I've raised my 12 year old daughter to do the same.  To assume that it's done with insincerity is outrageous.  I've done this DESPITE how I've felt about our military engagements because I recognize both the sacrifices and hell that our individual servicemen endure.  you spend half your diary making presumptions about a large group of people.  You should reconsider that position.

            •  Do you think everybody does it sincerely? (8+ / 0-)

              I'm serious.

              I recall times I travelled at the airport and people would say over and over "Thank you for your service", in the most superficial way.

              I really think if I was in the soldier's shoes I would be offended.

              I remember this one young guy on my plane and everybody did this (except me).  I talked to the guy like he was an actual human.

              And you know what I what I watch happen?

              As soon as the plane landed, his commander called him and ordered him to report to a base.

              You know where he planned on going?  To see his family on his supposed week home from Iraq.

              He almost cried.  I felt it too.

              But hey, "Thank you for your service", they all kept saying.

              Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

              by yet another liberal on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:37:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I look at it quite differently (3+ / 0-)

                I have spent most of my life in NYC.  We very rarely see uniformed servicemen.  Mostly only during fleet week.  I always go out of my way to approach uniformed military members.  ALWAYS.  I've taught my daughter that our military is all volunteer.  How it's different when citizens join during war times because of the likelihood they see combat.  As a holocaust historian, I'm privy to a certain understanding of what that entails (without ever been involved or in combat myself). I have a VERY intense gratitude for those that have served which is why I always respectfully approach those I see in uniforms.  That includes in airports, too.  It is now almost always with my daughter these days.  Since doing this, she has become a very valuable fund raiser, on a national level, for the Guitars for Vets organization.  

                It was very disheartening to read how our "thank you's" and "blessings" were offensive/insulting.  

                •  The thank yous are not offensive or insulting (5+ / 0-)

                  I think I did not communicate my intent very well.  It is true that sometimes the "thank yous" are sincere and sometimes they are not.  And you are right, it is unfair of me to paint everyone with a broad brush and assume that everyone (or even anyone) is insincere.  

                  But, in some sense, it is the sincere "thank yous" that I am trying to cast the light on (and yes there is some hyperbole in my plea to not say "thank you").  

                  I would just ask this question -- and I am not questioning your sincerity or intentions or good will or respect.  But, why do you have gratitude for those that have served?  

                  I have admiration and respect for those in uniform (having served myself).  But gratitude is not something I feel. Not because I am disrespectful or an ungrateful person -- and again, the finest people I have ever met wore the uniform.  But I don't have gratitude because the servicemen and servicewomen have not been doing anything for me.  And that is not their fault and it isn't because I want anything out of them.  The fault is that of the elites who are misusing and abusing our armed forces -- and who use genuine feelings of sincerity and support to subtly transform instead into support of what the elites are doing with and to the military and what they are doing with and to the veterans.

                  So, by all means, show respect, show admiration, engage servicemen and servicemen and veterans in conversation and show your respect, show your admiration, show your support for them.  But do not be grateful for their service, for all they do.  What they have done -- what we have done -- was not in service to you -- it was in service of a manipulative elite -- whose interests are counter and harmful to your interests.

                  Yes, support the troops.  Support them by voting for their best interests, for a government that will not use their (our) best and nobel feelings for their corrupt purposes.

                  And PS -- Tell me how I can help with Guitars for Vets -- both things are near and dear to my heart.

                  •  You conveyed your sentiment just fine (8+ / 0-)

                    You don't have to prove your further intent and you do not have to apologize to others who didn't "get" what you were trying to say.

                    Your words speak for themselves very eloquently. Don't ever doubt your beliefs because someone you don't know on a blog professed Outrage.

                    IMO, you hit a nerve:

                    If you want to do something for me, if you want to do something for me in return, hold up your end of the bargain. Don't let me be sent to fight and die for no reason. Don't let me be tossed on the trash heap when I return from far away battlefields. Heal those wounds that I have on my body, on my mind, on my soul -- those wounds I have received because I believe in the true idea of America and because I believe in you.  The wounds that I received because my ideals have been manipulated and used against me and used against you and used against imagined and fabricated enemies and used to further enrich that tiny sliver of our society for whom no amount of wealth can ever be enough.

                     

                    "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

                    by lunachickie on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:21:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Thank you!! (0+ / 0-)

                    Ok, I am going to thank you for your sacrifice because even if your service most benefited the 1%…, I doubt you'll get the thanks you deserve (or any thanks at all) from them.  And, you deserve it.  And, I guess that's why I'll continue to thank soldiers when I see them.  But, everything you said was SPOT ON, so I will also continue to let my vote show my appreciation for our soldiers & vets.  And I will also say thank you for reminding all of us that more than just lip service is owed.  You made your point beautifully and eloquently & have nothing further to explain or apologize for!

                  •  Thank you!! (0+ / 0-)

                    Ok, I am going to thank you for your sacrifice because even if your service most benefited the 1%…, I doubt you'll get the thanks you deserve (or any thanks at all) from them.  And, you deserve it.  And, I guess that's why I'll continue to thank soldiers when I see them.  But, everything you said was SPOT ON, so I will also continue to let my vote show my appreciation for our soldiers & vets.  And I will also say thank you for reminding all of us that more than just lip service is owed.  You made your point beautifully and eloquently & have nothing further to explain or apologize for!

                  •  Guitars for vets (0+ / 0-)

                    Is an organization that tries to help veterans with PTSD through the gift of music.  They give free guitar lessons and at the end of the program, also gift the guitar to the veteran.  GFV is always looking for music teachers, used (or new) guitars and of course, money.  They also host concerts nationwide and could benefit from good promoter contacts.  The founder of the org is in Chicago.  His name is Eric (very cool cat). If there is anything you think you could do, please reach out to him.  http://www.guitars4vets.org

                    As far as my gratitude goes, it is an acknowledgement for what you have voluntarily done when I would not/could not.  
                     

              •  I don't agree but understand why we all... (0+ / 0-)

                ...have difficulty being comfortable with the subject and the greeting.  "Thank you for your service" might seem superficial to some because they know we've basically been "schooled" to thank Veterans for their service rather then the thought being spontaneous...from the heart. I'm okay with the thanks anyway it is presented.  Like many greetings in society they start by an individual or as part of a group. I take the good with the bad and go with it. "Deeds"

                Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

                by kalihikane on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:25:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Too angry, allen. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobatkinson, YucatanMan

              And too personal. This isn't all about you.

            •  I'm a vet, too! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Angryallen, worldlotus, wishingwell

              The past few years I've begun to think about it. My father and four of his brothers served during WW2. I drive around and see right wing bumper stickers cursing liberal, Democratic politicians and I was proud that I voted against Bush-Cheney and for Barack Obama. Before the most recent election, I decided to pay for vet license plates.  My thought was that if the chickenhawk Republicans wanted to curse me for my politics, they could curse me for my service, too!

              Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

              by NM Ray on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:41:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I understood exactly what you meant. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            worldlotus, wishingwell

            Bravo.

            "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

            by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:25:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  When someone thanks you for your service, why (10+ / 0-)

    not take that opportunity to give them a card telling them what organization they could support.

    I think the 'thank you for your service' (have a nice day) saying got started because of the legend that people spit in Vietnam Vets faces. Well everyone knows maybe we didn't say enough to them when they got home. And being denied membership to the VFW because Vietnam wasn't a war it was a 'police action' was wrong.

    At any rate the 'thank you for your service' is insurance for being accused of spitting in vets faces.

    However, when you hear that, you have you foot in the door and it is time to get political on their ass. Maybe I will write this to the Vote Vets org. 'Thank you for your service' is the perfect segway for handing out campaign material.  

    So when you year 'thank you for your service' say 'you're welcome please read this brochure on veterans issues.' Maybe you can influence more people than you realize.  Maybe Vote Vets, org could offer printable brochures on line for the 'thank you for your service' vets to distribute.

    Good diary. Thanks.

    Don't send a teddy bear to the Martinez family, they don't want you to intrude on their grief - send a postcard to a politician Not One More

    by 88kathy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:52:07 AM PDT

    •  Not a legend. I made the error of traveling (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, VClib, blueoasis, on the cusp

      in uniform in 1970 on a leave, and had to walk the last several miles as I had missed the bus connection, and NO ONE would give me a lift when I tried to hitchhike...although several did stop and then drive away as I got close to their car, and 3 or 4 threw bottles or garbage at me from passing cars. And, yes it was the "liberals" and hippies who did that, because that's who I was before I went into the Army.

      Oh, and don't thank me for my service, either...I enlisted simply to keep my ass out of prison.

      Former Sp4

      Boycott all republican owned businesses-see how they like THAT.

      by old mark on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:07:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So anyway what do you think of my idea to use (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        old mark

        'thank you for your service' as a segway to pass out a brochure outlining actual action for thanking vets with real progams?

        And much to my everlasting guilt, I never did say anything at all to Pedro and that was way worse than bottles or garbage.

        Don't send a teddy bear to the Martinez family, they don't want you to intrude on their grief - send a postcard to a politician Not One More

        by 88kathy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:51:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's a great idea (10+ / 0-)

          That is essentially what prompted me to finally write this diary. I have been mulling it over for quite a long time - ever since I saw someone say "thank you for your service" to a young man on his way to being deployed - they were just passing each other in the airport. I wanted to say something like "If you really want to thank him, vote Democrat.  Bring him home."  But being slow of thought and word I missed that opportunity - but that exchange resonated and stuck with me.

        •  I am a supporter of Guitars 4 Vets, a program (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell

          that takes donations of money and guitars and has people n veteran's rehabs to teach those who wish to learn to play, and of course gives them the instrument to do it. It has been very successful and very helpful in its limited way, and so far I have donated 7 guitars to it, and have 2 more waiting to go.

          Google Guitars4Vets...

          I think it is a disgrace that veterans should have to rely on charity at all, and far, far worse that many of the groups that "benefit" vets take a huge amount of the money donated for their own use and enrichment...

          Our politicians are great at pretend outrage, poor at accomplishing anything good for our people, including vets...Other countries seem to actually value their citizens and try to better their lives-the US does neither.

          How I HATE the word DUDE...moronic western big hat bullshit.

          by old mark on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:04:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  PS once I was riding my bike beside the road and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VeggiElaine

        a car full of people drove by and someone held a long butcher knife out the window. I know how you feel. I was wearing my little girl riding a bike uniform.

        Don't send a teddy bear to the Martinez family, they don't want you to intrude on their grief - send a postcard to a politician Not One More

        by 88kathy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:55:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  People gave up their airplane seat for me (2+ / 0-)

        On pre Viet Nam leave while traveling from Detroit to northern Michigan a guy got off the plane so I could have his seat and get home. I was never treated with anything but respect before going to Nam and after coming home. I've always felt that the "spitting on soldiers" thing was a bullshit urban myth just to vilify the anti war movement and hippies in general.

        •  YOu are very fortunate...I know several others (0+ / 0-)

          who have had experiences similar to yours and to mine as well...but don't say it never happened.

          How I HATE the word DUDE...moronic western big hat bullshit.

          by old mark on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:06:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Spitting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State

               I heard the stories but I never saw anybody spit on. I wore my uniform home and if someone had totally failed the IQ test at that point and spat on me I probably would have whipped the heck out of them in public.  I HAVE seen  ChickenHawk wingnuts making fun of wounded veterans.  

    •  I think all members of the armed services (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      post rational, Angie in WA State

      and veterans appreciate any well wishes and acts of kindness, that are sincere. Using the term "thank you for your service" has likely gotten a little worn out, but there are lots of ways to say thank you. We certainly had very little of it in my time.

      VClib
      US Army 1969-1975

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:51:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Feel The Same Way (10+ / 0-)

      When I got back in '71 I hid my service from everyone, including myself.  Why ask for insults or injury. I blocked it all out.
        For the next 38 years I pretended everything was OK, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. But that's another story.
       Things changed with the coming of car magnets asking us to support the troops. Now we needed them, our oil supply was in danger. Better show them some support.  It became OK to be a Vet again.
        When people "thank" me these days I say; "If you want to thank me, don't vote for people who start wars."

    I fear no God or lack thereof since neither is the case.

    by post rational on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:51:27 PM PDT

  •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bearsguy, Papuska

    some veterans who ARE not wingers appreciate the thank you and it is not for the way you interpret it by most older vets I feel.   The thank you is for your sacrafice of your well being ...the sacarafice many have suffered along the reintegration period....the thank you is , you are appreciated and many vets say this to other vers.   The thank you is for many things that really have nothing to do with medals and ribbons but crutches and cains.

    I think most VN vets and others as well appreciate the gesture as many had missed that thanks when they got home.   Many have mixed feeling but some people don't like Mam ot Sir.   Same thing... Not only is it hearfelt from me but I try to do more than speak the words... I try to advocate for those who borne the battle.  It goes with the territory if one truly appreciates a person's sacrafice.. I say it to firefighters and first responders as well.  

    Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:16:19 PM PDT

    •  I get told Thank You (4+ / 0-)

      and such, But not to often asked what I did, Or where I went nothing like that. Nothing of Interest as to what I actually did or accomplished. As a POC Fireman same thing, More than happy to talk about my experiences. Some are genuine, Others are not, The ones who say some thing and walk away like you have the Plague!!
       Those who have a hard time during their Era, I try to understand it, But I didn't experience it, So I don't try to pretend that I do. My Dad, (deceased) was a USMC Veteran, He taught Me to be Respectful, And Listen.
       After this last Memorial Parade, I was involved in the Fire Dept. aspect , (Drove an Engine) I went to the Ceremony afterwards, Had the Pleasure of standing next to a Viet Nam Veteran, Introduced, He gave Me a Big Hug, Shook hands, I was Honored to be with that Gentleman.

                                      SEMPER FI
                                          82-90

      Don't confuse Confidence with Arrogance.

      by bearsguy on Sat May 31, 2014 at 03:55:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for your service. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bearsguy, rbzbos, BeninSC, nomandates, aznavy

       I always hated hearing that and wanted to reply that they could stick their thanks,  just pay your bills to vets or let me introduce you to a recruiter.

  •  when I hear "support the troops" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jack 1966

    or "thank you for your service," it almost always seems like code for "Thank you to the elites that start and propagandistically promote these wars to secure the lion's share of the Earth's resources so my porcine, overconsumptive and thoroughly externally engineered habits and ideation towards the world as some sort of garbage can for my misplaced, fantasy-generated desires can go on unchallenged in perpetuity."

    Places like Afghanistan only accentuate the agenda's true meaning and motivation, which is to fight unwinnable, meatgrinder conflicts -- that country is a series of ruggedly terrained cave outposts where an invading army has ZERO chance of efficacy.... just ask the USSR, or what's left of it -- under near-total media blackout, so the aforementioned elites can secure the power and resources to make their next commercial for slavery and species suicide look even more like freedom and heroic democracy. The intent is profit, which when secured can provide an even more effective means of subjugation and barbaric power- and resource-consolidation, period.

    That we live in a place (I don't call 300+ million disinformed know-nothings gathered together on the same continent chasing the same mythologically phony paper like its the true, uncritiqueable Deity of Everything a "country") that can, in the mass, endorse the sending of limitlessly-potentialled, beautiful young people into such a meatgrinder-for-profit situation as a way of "supporting" anyone other than the military-industrial-entertainment complex that owns and operates this world seemingly with impunity, causes me to shake my head with even more mortified incredulity.

    Thank you for your diary and your courage in being willing to drill down past the propaganda layer that coats the minds of people like a perma-glaze of opaque eye-wool, even as their planet is looted to the lees out from under their toes by the very same power elites upon which they seem to want to bestow unlimited and unquestionable credibility.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:13:35 PM PDT

  •  If I could rec this diary 100+ times, I would. (5+ / 0-)

    In Georgia, acting the fool with a gun is not only legal, it is encouraged by the governor and the state legislature.

    by Mayfly on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:36:19 PM PDT

  •  When i'm thanked... (5+ / 0-)

    I reply "It is a privilege to serve, thank you for letting me." (I do this for thanks for military service and for Metro EMS)

    I agre I'm not protecting the nation from any real threat not provoked by our own government.  I'm serving because good people need to or you will have a military full of bad people.

    We need more good people, who are willing to give up privileges and comfort. Otherwise we are going to see a military made of of Tea Party and Right Wing nuts.  Something we don't want.

    I've been privileged to be allowed to serve.  

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:52:04 PM PDT

    •  This (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky DeanDemocrat

      I respond with - no, thank you.  I work for you.  I will admit that part of my motive is a crazy hope that it will connect in their brain that the wars we fight are THEIR wars.  They (as in the big They) vote for them and THEY own them.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:05:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, may I say "Thank you for your service, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onceasgt

    and I vote to the best of my ability to support our Women and Men in uniform."?

    Glad this diary was rescued!

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Sat May 31, 2014 at 04:59:58 PM PDT

  •  I don't like it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan

    when I can tell its beyond fake.  Liberal or conservative, some times you can just tell that it is said to make THEM feel better while in fact they see soldiers as saps or idiots who can't get "real" jobs.  I travel enough that I get privileges in some of the better air port and hotel lounges.  Some of those extend as a courtesy access to soldiers flying in uniform.  Because of this I get to hear what is said after the soldiers walk away.  

    Thankfully most of the time its genuine in both intent and feeling and it always embarrasses me.  I do what I do because I love it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sat May 31, 2014 at 05:11:47 PM PDT

  •  Just tremendous Mage11an! (6+ / 0-)

    This is the best piece I have read in the whole disgusting manipulation of what is really happening at the VA over the past couple of weeks. I cringe when all those good hard working and compassionate people at the VA say that to me. I fell for the lies and the rotten war of choice of my generation but by going to Nam and seeing that it wasn't what I had been brainwashed to believe it was I came back a changed person no longer susceptible to the language of the war mongers. Indeed we have no more sinister and ruthless enemy than the war mongering politicians and the plutocrats they serve. Next time they try to shove a war down young, gullible peoples throats the evil bastards will have a much harder job because of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who are coming back from Iraq after four and five tours. To a country whose politicians cravenly voted for the war even as they continually vote to cut funding for the wounded that those wars inevitably wrack up. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece of work sir or mam. Brought tears to my eyes as the topic always does.  

  •  I Grew Up A Navy Brat..... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bearsguy, rbzbos, NonnyO, YucatanMan

    My dad put in 20 years & is a Pearl Harbor survivor....still alive & complaining about it.  I never supported Viet Nam or Iraq or our failed war in Afghanistan.   Pearl Harbor.....yes, but that was a different time.  

    I couldn't agree w/ this diary more.  Very well put.  I've never been able to force myself to thank someone for their service.
    Their service allows the war machine to flourish.  Especially now when there is no draft, enlisting is a choice & a political reality.  It's an opportunity for people like Dick Cheney to pocket some big bucks from his deferred stock @ Halliburton.

    I don't like Dick Cheney.  I don't want him to make any more money.  He's got enough.....He's just going to leave it all to that war mongering daughter of his.  Cut him off & her.  

    No....more.....war!

  •  Why ONLY the military? (5+ / 0-)

    I (almost) never see people and institutions go out of their way to honor or thank other public servants -- sure, sometimes police or fireman, but what about teachers?  Don't even think of honoring a "bureaucrat".  Only verbal abuse for them.  Anger that they might want to collect on pensions promised them for decades.  Grumbling about how they don't perform miracles despite cuts in pay, crumbling office buildings, staff reductions, etc.

    I attend ball games, and there's always a tribute to a service person in uniform. NEVER a teacher. NEVER anyone else in public service.  

    The military budget is a huge problem in this country.  So much money spent needlessly.  We are close to turning militarism into a fetish.  The tradition in this country for most of its history, and for good reason, was a small military, and tiny military budgets.

    Wish Truman had left it the War Department, rather than the close to Orwellian Defense Department.

  •  Damn man, you nailed it (3+ / 0-)

    I feel the same way as you brother.  We stepped up now they need to step up and keep the promise that was made.  Don't bullshit me, just live up to a simple pledge that was made to watch our backs upon our return.  Thanks

  •  Even though I was drafted, I considered it (6+ / 0-)

    a rather brutal, convoluted form of payback at the time.

    The way I had to look at it back then was that I was giving back 4 years of service for having received 12 years of a good free education (back when public schools actually provided a good education), a reasonable quality of life in a reasonably healthy environment and the opportunity to do pretty much anything I wanted to do with my life afterwards. Consequently I did what I was told, I got out at the agreed-upon length of time and I resumed my life as best I could. This did not make me a "hero" that needed gratitude: this made me a Veteran that needed this country to fulfill its commitments to it's defenders... commitments that have been consistently ignored by lawmakers throughout this country's history in favor of their number one pork-barrel priority: getting reelected.

    The words of the people who are thanking me now ring hollow because most of them voted for the kind of neocon trash that don't give a shit about veterans until it's time to get reelected - and all they can come up with are florid speeches and grandiose platitudes extolling the virtues of sacrifice for the country... but once they're sworn back in and get comfy in their office chairs for another 4 years, they regard any budget increases to support veterans as "budget-busting, unfunded mandates". Then they bark about privatizing veteran assistance even though every time something that was formerly a function of government gets privatized, the costs double or triple and the quality goes from bad to criminal. Anything having to do with the care of human beings that operates under a profit motive kills more people in this country than bullets - that's a fact, no matter how much the "Pee Tarty" denies it. Meanwhile the person who thanks me for stomping around in some jungle or being deployed at sea for 9 months a year or flying aircraft on endless readiness missions or dodging bullets in some idiotic "police action" and taking orders from Neanderthal lifers with tunnel vision for 4 years usually either got a deferment from his rich daddy or never spent a moment in the service of anyone but himself.

    Frankly, I could do with a lot less of the mindless hero worship and a lot more of people putting their money where their words of platitude are intended instead. Maybe if they got a real taste of just how expensive the aftermath of war really is, they wouldn't be so quick to elect the likes of Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz or Rumsfeld to positions of authority.

  •  Veterans for Peace (3+ / 0-)

    often show up at various rallies and stuff.

    I always say "Thank you for being here." Sometimes, they wince, because they think I'm thanking them for their military service, instead of their activism.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

    by OllieGarkey on Sat May 31, 2014 at 07:08:23 PM PDT

  •  Well said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State, lenzy1000
    The only threat to our country and to our way of life comes from within our own borders.  From plutocrats and the politicians they own.  The politicians who sent me and my brothers and my sisters into harm's way for no purpose.  To conflicts where thousands of my brothers and sisters died.  Where tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers and civilians died (but who we don't count because they don't count because they are not like us). The same politicians who even when I return, even when I am out of uniform, continue to use me, continue to use my pain to manipulate the very people who elected them into voting against their own interests, into voting to send me and my brothers and my sisters to kill and to be killed.
    We do what we can.  The oil industry, the military/intelligence/industrial complex and other corporations and plutocrats own the government.  Their dark money political campaign contributions (and even not so dark) are the addiction of our political system and most candidates.  This has to stop.

    Getting money out of politics by passing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens Unite/McCutcheon is my #1 cause nowadays. For this reason I'm involved in the March for Democracy and in the campaigns of many who agree;

    Derek Cressman; a much better Democrat for CA Secretary of State

    CA-33: Marianne Williamson speaks at Drinking Liberally Westside LA tomorrow

    We do what we can.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:37:57 PM PDT

  •  I'll take the thanks as long as they are not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell

    done to patronize me or done in lieu of something tangible. But in all honesty it took 45 years for me to hear those words from someone. And that someone was my doctor. Who I promptly thanked for her service.

    And I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine. And I damn all gentlemen. Whose only worth is their father's name And the sweat of a workin' man Steve Earle - Dixieland

    by shigeru on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:40:32 AM PDT

  •  I have never said it. Being a brat and part (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat

    of a huge military family I never heard it until this last war(s).  To me it sounds off ...almost disingenuous. I thank people for their service by supporting them when they are in and helping them get whatever help they need when they get out e.g., jobs, training or going over their benefit options.  Along with my relatives I watch every VA bill like a hawk and volunteer at my local VA hospital.

  •  I'm glad to see these perspectives b/c (0+ / 0-)

    Whenever I see someone in uniform in public, my first impulse is to say something like "Thank you for your service."

    I never do. I never do because before my mouth can open, I come to two realizations:

    1) I have no idea what "thank you for your service" actually means and especially what it would mean to the person I'm talking to.

    2) If I were that person, I'd hate it if people came up to me at random and assumed they knew enough about me to say something like "thanks for being you."

    This is something that's always paralyzed me. I never want to be someone who doesn't show gratitude where it's called for, but I never want words to be cheapened by being used as a manner of convention without genuine empathy.

    I envy those people who can walk up to someone whether they be a military member or a police officer and say "thank you" and seem like they have a deep understanding of the other person. I know much of the time that's all surface, but it still makes me wonder if I think too much sometimes.

    I'm sure there are some people who love getting this kind of recognition and I'm sure there are plenty for whom it makes their skin crawl because what the hell can they say back to you that would be genuine?

  •  I'm not "grateful for your service" (3+ / 0-)

    I am sorry for your losses" ...

    So many of them. The loss of life, the loss of limbs, the loss of youth, the loss of minds, the loss of souls. Soldiering is an inherently dangerous profession ... it's also often a morally degrading one --- not unlike the OTHER "Oldest Profession".  <!!>

    War is a racket  -- but it is a very well promoted racket.

    (Do you really want to hear that?  Does anyone?)

    Soldiers are the suckers OF that racket who bought the very well promoted bill of goods  that says that  to "kill on command,  without reservation before or remorse afterwards, on behalf of the interests of the ruling classes,  is the highest calling to which a real man and patriot can aspire.

    Back at Home,  those who "hold their manhood cheap that the were not there" tug their forelocks, step aside and say "thank you for your service.."   That is because failure to do so ...   is to be compassion-less ungrateful Begrudger  (if you're on the Left ... while on the Right,   it is to be a Enemy of all that is Good, Decent and Patriotic.  (Dirty Commie Hippie-Faggots,, spitting on the graves of Heroes, etc.)

    Do you thinK  I (or any sane person) is going to go up to a stranger (who probably has kill-skills, and may have PTSD  with  anger issues) and say "I'm  not grateful for your service, I'm sorry for your loss."  

    Because, truth be told ... you didn't "serve" ME, at all.

    First and foremost you served the ChickenHawk plutocrats whose interests you advanced against smaller weaker countries.   You served the Contractors who supply the military with  everything from toilet paper to advanced weapons systems.

    Dwight Eisenhower said it all in his "Cross of Iron" speech

    CROSS OF IRON
    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
    This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...
    This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

    From the Chance for Peace address delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.

    <!!> The three oldest professions are soldiering whoring and priesting  ... of the three preiesting is the safest and most rewarding.
  •  Thank you for reminding us (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat
    Don't let me be sent to fight and die for no reason.
    That part is often overlooked. Our troops are often sent to battle for reasons other than defense of our country.

    Some people have short memories

    by lenzy1000 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:44:20 PM PDT

  •  This said it pretty well (0+ / 0-)

    from a retired military guy.

    http://www.stonekettle.com/...

    If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
    marcus alrealius alrightus

    by mm201 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:20:34 PM PDT

  •  "Thank you for your service" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell

    is, according to a claim upthread, a traditional greeting for a man in uniform.  I seriously doubt it.  I think it is a meme pushed to glorify the Bush-Cheney oil wars.  All that "support our troops" business was just shorthand for "support our war."  

    I'm married to a man who served in the early 70s.  We lived on several military bases.  I accompanied him lots of places.  I never heard anyone anywhere say "thank you for your service" to him or to his uniformed friends.

    Furthermore, in my childhood, practically every adult man I knew was a World War II vet.  I never heard anyone anywhere say "Thank you for your service" to any of them.

    It's kind of like the oft-reiterated "911 changed everything."  Really?  More than Pearl Harbor?  More than the Kennedy assassination?  We remained innocent after those things happened, but a terrorist attack (certainly not the first one) had the power to alter things that those events did not?  Bullfeathers.

    They are programming us.  It's creepy.  

    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

    by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:48:30 PM PDT

  •  Remember when (0+ / 0-)

    during GHWB's term that we as a nation finally welcomed home and thanked the 'Nam vets? That is where that "Thank you for your service" grew out of. It became a way for us as a people to not repeat the mistake of confusing the bad war with the good soldiers.

    As former military myself, I was always uncomfortable with being thanked for doing what I believed to be the right thing. You don't thank someone for stopping at a red light, do you? Yet I had no problem the accepting the thanks from any of the so called "greatest generation". They knew the cost of war, and the sacrifices required. Both at home and of those serving. I also gratefully accepted the thanks of anyone who served in 'Nam. They knew the pain of being spat on when they came home (with a few rare exceptions ~ McCain comes to mind).

    Anyway like the OP said: if you really want to thank us, vote! Send the SOB's who filibustered Sen Sander's VA bill packing! Call/mail/email/meet with your Congressmen/women and tell them to support a GIBill that fully pays for a 4yr degree, books included.

    "Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news. Which follows its own special rules." ~ Douglas Adams

    by coyote66 on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:27:56 AM PDT

  •  My only regret is (0+ / 0-)

    that I have but one Rec to give to this diary.  And for that, I DO thank you.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:42:12 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site