I probably don’t say thank you to our veterans enough. None of us do. To many, just saying thank you probably seems so empty. It feels like it has lost some of it’s meaning. It can come off as hollow. “oh, you’re a veteran? Thank you for your service.” It seems like such an automatic response.
I read an article recently, which I want to link to but can’t seem to find, by a veteran who said he wishes people would stop thanking him. For all the reasons I mentioned above. At first, I was really irritated by the article. Especially because my brother is currently deployed. My sister in law served in Iraq. My father was in the Air Force. My grandfather fought with the Navy in WWII. My uncles went throught Vietnam. I have had cousins in the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard. Members of my family have served in every branch of the United States military. But as I read through his points, I understood what he was getting at. He didn’t want someone to thank him because they felt obligated to. And that makes sense. But I fundamentally disagree with him.
We should not stop saying thank you. What we should do is start meaning it again. I always try to say thank you to someone who has served or is currently serving. Because I truly mean it when I say “thank you for your service.” What I’m really saying is, “thank you for protecting me.”
Because that’s truly what our men and women who serve are doing. They are protecting us. From dangers seen and unseen. Known and unkown. They are voluntarily giving up time with their families to ensure that I have the safety to spend time with mine.
And I’m a complete stranger to most of them.
That’s why I think it’s important to say thank you. Because we are all strangers. Yet they serve for us. Because of them, I know I don’t have to fight.
And for that, I am eternally thankful.