Let me set the scene, I’m tired. It’s been a 12 hour work day, I’ve had people tell me to piss me off, doors slammed in my face and I’m generally just angry. That’s when you decide to walk up and say “thank you for your service.” This is not going to be a negative post just one designed to make you think.
From a psychological standpoint people do this because it makes THEM feel good, “oh I thanked a Soldier today.” In reality when it happens I have no idea how to respond. Sometimes I say thank you for your support, sometimes I appreciate you, sometimes I just say thanks. Always polite but always a little confused. See the phrase thank you for your service is stupid. People have this deep seeded ideological thought that Soldiers are serving the greater good and all this and that. Could I make more on the outside, absolutely. But I do what I do because it takes care of my family, it’s a solid and dependable paycheck, and it’s the easiest job I’ve ever had.
Young Soldiers may still believe in the ideology, but as time goes on they began to realize it’s honestly just a job. It’s what I do for a living, and every time someone thanks me I really want to answer with “you’re welcome for my service” like on Range 15.
But there is a difference, some guys come home and then turn around and go again. These guys more than anyone deserve the mantel of hero. They also pay the price for this, and generally are the ones most needing (and rightfully so) help when they get out. It is our responsibility to ensure we do for them as much as they did for us.
Anyone who ever does anything heroic when asked about it will always answer “I’m not a hero, those guys were the heroes. I just did what I needed to do.” So much like those guys, I just did what I needed to do. So before you run to thank that group of Soldiers just trying to get some breakfast ask yourself this, do I thank every police officer I see? Firefighter? Paramedic? Police officers go to work everyday literally knowing they might not go home at the end of their shift, firefighters sometimes run into burning buildings while everyone is running out, paramedics save lives in the most unordinary fashion possible.
People that serve these types of roles truly serve the community. Police officers keep us safe, even those who don’t respect them call them when in need. Then they come and are there to assist in what could possibly be the worst moments of a persons life. Firefighters show up and help take care of one of the most destructive forces known to man. Paramedics sometimes literally perform miracles, keeping those that shouldn’t make it alive.
Keep saying thank you when you see a service member. It may be awkward for us but just keep that in mind. More importantly help veterans when you see them, cause they are often forgotten. Raise your children and grandchildren to respect those who put their lives on the lines even if you don’t agree with the politics. And if you have the means, donate time or money sending boxes and letters to those putting their lives on the line deployed
Those are the real heroes.