I’ve never served in the Military and will never be a Veteran of the same, so I often wonder what a service person thinks, or feels when a stranger says to them, “Thank-You for your Service”? While I recognize it as one way for those of us who’ve never served to acknowledge a member of the armed services whether retired or currently serving, I sometimes wonder if it’s stated sincerely. Some say it to be cordial or strike up a conversation because they are truly thankful and want to express their sincere appreciation and gratitude to those who elected at some point in their life to join the Military ranks. Some say it because they see someone in uniform and feel it’s the “right” thing to do. Some say it just because they’ve heard others say it and aren’t sure why.
Many who join the service do so with a full head and heart with the intent and fervor of a person on-a-mission. They apply themselves and work hard at moving up the ranks, never giving up and never giving in. Some join feeling, they can make a difference and chart a course for a career that will benefit themselves and their family all the while knowing their next duty station or deployment may be in harm’s way, but they do it anyway. Others join out of desperation to get out of an impoverished situation at home, not knowing where their future lies, but knowing whatever is ahead cannot possibly be as bad as what they leave behind. Still others join simply because they simply have no direction and career options even with college degrees in hand have not panned out.
Whatever the reason, we are here because they are there. They are in harm’s way when we read about the chaos in the Middle East. They are deployed all over the globe, sometimes in places most of us would never want to live, let-alone visit and defend. And they have been doing this for generations for those of us who never served and for those who have served honorably so we can live in a part of the world that knows more peace than much of the world may never know.
We cannot bring back the many military lives that have been lost fighting wars in foreign lands and faraway places. We cannot undo the pain of lives lost to the families whose son or daughter gave all. We cannot put ourselves where they have trod unless we have walked in their shoes. We find it hard to comprehend PTSD unless we have lived it. How can we really thank them for their service? I doubt we truly can.
So, the next time you see a Veteran; remember when you say Thank-You for your Service, say it with conviction and know what it means to you, and what it will mean to the Service Member, The Veteran before you speak the words.
Never forget All gave some…… Some gave All!