Armistice Day at Arlington Cemetery LCCN2016891807.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Harris & Ewing, photographer) Details Source DMCA
If, like me, you spent the prime of your life in the ranks of some branch of the military and people know it, there is absolutely no escaping the cringe-worthy platitude "Thank you for your service." I usually go out of my way to avoid any exchange at all, but if unavoidable, my usual reply is "Thanks, but I didn't serve, I was used."
Look, I am a Vietnam veteran, OK. And long before I completed nearly 100 combat missions, I realized that I was not one of the good guys. I was an unwitting interventionist with Navy Wings of Gold, flying cover for an invasion force. I should have known better from the start but, like my father before me, I "served," like a mindless tool.
Forbes Magazine would have its social media readership come to more marketable concepts of 21st century military service. In short, a Veterans Day article by Diana Rau broad brushed generations of US service members. Rau meant well but her piece read like a USAA commercial. The title alone, What I Really Mean When I Say Thank You for Your Service, was enough to turn my laptop into a COVID self-isolation projectile because I knew what was coming.
"Dear Veteran, we celebrate you"thank you for creating the space for me, and so many others, to dream fearlessly."
Let's hope yours come without night sweats or heart-pounding triggers.
"What I mean is because of your actions and service, I don't worry about roadside bombs enroute to meetings or the safety of my family and friends while I'm at work."
That, Diana, is because bombs are meant for Muslim villages in the Middle East or Asia.
"My ability to experience joy and wonder are because you protected and created the space for me to appreciate life's beauty without fear."
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