Veterans Day

I never quite know what to say to veterans.

Hear me out, here.

Saying “thank you for your service” seems trite – almost mawkish.   Someone who never served saying “Thanks for going overseas and getting shot at!”?

See what I mean?

In the meantime, what I want to say is “glad you made it home”.  But I can see that being taken the wrong way.

So I’ll wing it.

Veterans:  thanks for spending the best years of your lives in barracks, troops ships, foxholes, berthing spaces, CVC helmets, cockpits and gun mounts, doing things most of us can’t imagine, to protect the freedoms too many Americans take very much for granted.

If bars ever open again, the next drink’s on me.

It doesn’t roll off the tongue, but it doesn’t have to.

(Adapted from a post I first ran five years ago).

9 thoughts on “Veterans Day

  1. Mitch – thanks. From mine (and many other OIF/OEF vets) perception, we’re just happy enough to hear a thanks for service. I entered service in an era where Vietnam Vets were still in, and so thankful not to have their experiences.

    As far as them being the best years of our lives, in many ways it was. I get what you’re going for – that period where you’re still young, etc. But, living and fighting for months on end with the same group of guys? There are memories I would never trade, and others I really I wish I could get out of there.

    The questions that we really hate? Did you have/get to kill anyone?

  2. A beer or other drink could be a great way to show appreciation, or perhaps for those with PTSD and substance abuse issues, a very bad one.

    I don’t know if I did any good, but I do remember listening to a guy a little younger than I about his experiences in Iraq for a couple of hours at a birthday party. He talked a lot more about playing the pipes than PTSD, for whatever reason. Perhaps a great way of showing appreciation for vets might be to learn a touch about how to encourage those who are hurting with self-care.

    So thanks, SMH and others. See you out there!

  3. Less than 10% of post WWII population served in the military. A smaller fraction of those ever really put their asses out on the line. I’m one of those that joined right after Vietnam (was in the reserves when it ended). Like most vets, I never saw combat; never did anything special, but I did what I was told to do; for that, I got paid and got 3 hots and a cot.

    I don’t need thanks. I was thanked with top notch training that I got college cred for, with the money that helped put me through college, with a loan guarantee for my first house, and with hiring preferences (me, a white guy, can you imagine that?). But then again, I didn’t put my ass on the line and I never suffered a life changing wound in battle.

    We don’t see those guys around a lot; it’s hard for them to get around; everything is hard for them. But those are the guys who we should all save our thanks for.

    (That being said, I DO appreciate the 10% off at Lowes!)

  4. Pete,

    I feel pretty much the same way. I got close enough to a combat area during Vietnam to get shot at and survive a couple of rocket attacks. I came home alive, with all of my body parts and didn’t have any PTSD, at least until I read one of Emery’s screeds and had the training for a great trade. I chose a different path, but it was always there as a fall back. It was the guys that didn’t make it home, lost limbs or their sanity, that deserve our thanks and respect. On another note, I introduced my brothers to SOS and if you can believe it, they have been hooked ever since

  5. I had a job, car, my own apartment and a couple of girl friends. Then, I was drafted into the Army on 22 Jun 1966. I became a paratrooper, and served with the 82nd Airborne Division stateside, and with the 173d Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. My first Purple Heart put me in the hospital for 3 months, before I healed enough to rejoin my outfit again in Vietnam. 3 weeks before my deployment came to an end (20 Jun 1968), I was wounded again, but only shrapnel from a mortar round, and was treated in the field.

    I have absolutely no regrets about serving, and I consider myself to be unapologetically patriotic.


  6. I read the perfect response to “Thank you for your service!” today.

    “You were worth it.”

  7. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 11.12.20 (Morning Edition) : The Other McCain

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