“Thank you for your service” – I have heard that often, and I appreciate it.
I thank those who say nice things to me, a US Army veteran – or to, or about, so many, many other veterans. It is valuable to be thankful, and to be explicit. And the free meals, and reserved parking spaces are nice!
Still, I always want to say:
all people adore
In time of war,
but not before;
And when war is over
and all things are righted,
God is neglected
and an old soldier slighted.
Please give AT LEAST equal respect to those who have served, or are serving, elsewhere –
- in a public school classroom
- or as a nurse or nursing assistant
- or dozens-of-others – but those two are dear to my heart.
They make democracy and decent society possible!
They (all) are doing the REAL work of making the world safe for freedom and democracy. Seriously, they are doing the real work. The military is there to help make a safe place for them to do that wonderful work. If all we have is military might, and veterans who get a tad of verbal recognition on occasion, then we don’t have what we need.
Then there’s the saying, “I Support the Troops.”
But we do not support the troops merely by saying so, or sporting a bumper sticker. I fear that often “I support the troops” means “I like the idea of war, and fighting, and being scary in this world!” That’s a very different thing.
The troops (and veterans) can usually tell how well they are being supported by their government, and their people. Sometimes it’s well, sometimes it’s not so well. The old anonymous saying has weight:
God and a soldier all people adore
In time of war, but not before;
And when war is over and all things are righted,
God is neglected and an old soldier slighted.
There are millions of those who serve and have served who are not military, and in many cases never have been. And some of them have labored in very difficult situations, for low wages, for many years, with little recognition.
Seriously. We must appreciate their service AT LEAST as much – it often IS the REAL work of democracy-building.