Posted on Nov 11, 2013
CPT Company Commander
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We, as service members and veterans, often find ourselves on the receiving end of thanks for our sacrifice and for serving. I never really thought about it until a very witty SFC told me a story once. When told by a passer by we support you he asked how? The passerby was caught off guard and could not answer that because he did nothing more than just a brief statement.

I don't think that this was the more tactful way to respond but it made me think. The SFC was a great NCO and I still look up to him. But he was simply tired of the hollowed words. Civilians really don't understand what we deal with in combat and when back home of the struggles. The mere "Thanks" is appreciated but yet we here comments of their support. Very few actually support soldiers or veterans with any tangible results. It seems similar to cheering for the Super Bowl Champions because that is what you think you should do but in reality don't even know what city the team of from.
Edited 7 y ago
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1LT(P) Executive Officer
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In my mind, there are three groups of civilians (who aren't vets):

1) Those who have a close friend or family member who serves, and are intimately knowledgeable and aware of the sacrifices made not only by the servicemember, but by the families - they have lived through it.

2) Those who view from afar, and either make a sincere effort to make sure those who serve feel appreciated or are uncomfortable acknowledging what the military does out of a lack of understanding. Either way, neither pretends to understand the service and keep it at arms length.

3) The friend or acquaintance who plays Call of Duty, watches war movies, had a college roommate who would occasionally wake them up as they went out the door to PT, and thinks they know exactly what being in the military is like. Common lines are "Oh, I had a friend who deployed once, I know what it can be like," followed by something to the effect of "Oh, I totally would've enlisted but [insert cop-out here]."

Pardon my language ladies and gentlemen, but the people in groups 1) and 2) are the salt of the earth, while people in group 3) are the worst type of douchebags.
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CPT Company Commander
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I can't stand number three. I have ran into so many of these. I would tell them just to admit that you didn't want to commit instead of some lame excuse.
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1LT(P) Executive Officer
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Yeah. When those phrases come out, it's the easiest indication that you're talking to a gigantic tool...
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SSG Fire Control Sergeant
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You have hit the nail on the head. It is actually amazing how many times I have been asked if my deployments were anything like COD or a specific war movie. I just tell them everyone has there own experiance when down range. You cant watch a movie or video game and think that everyone down range goes through that kind of stuff. On the other hand I have also meet with #1 and #2 obviously. I do have civilian friends that do not agree with what the military does but still supports my family emotionaly when I am gone. They also have a great respect for me doing something that I belive in even if they do not agree.
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SSG Physical Security Nco
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Personally, Veterans Day is one of the saddest days for me.  I try to come up with a reason to be glad for the ones who gave all for me and everyone else, hopeful that I will live honorable life to honor the fallen, and happy that I am hear with all my body parts and my sanity to still serve in what I love to do and that's being in the army.  On the other hand, it is a deeply emotional day where I think of the service members who I knew personally who gave all and lost their lives in the combat zone. 
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LCpl Matt P.
LCpl Matt P.
8 y
Personally, I think the only people who should get anything (paid "holiday", or anything else) on Veterans day should be just veterans
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SSG Melvin Nulph
SSG Melvin Nulph
3 y
LCpl Matt P. I can see why you might think that way. But to put a little light on the other side, my grandmother spent many years missing her son (my father) he did several tours in Vietnam 6 or 7 of them. I spent a lifetime without him, (all but a few nightmares, and a couple memories, needless to say it’s never the best day for me. After my 20 years in the military it added to the loss. But as we loose our brothers & sisters, other loose friends, & family members also. How do we say they have not earned the right to have the day for the ones they lost or did without while they served as we have done? Some things can be deeper then we think at times. I hope this helps you see another point of view.
I thank you and the rest of our active duty members for keeping our country safe and doing all you do for us and your brothers and sisters in the military.
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Sgt Mark Ramos
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Gratitude should be accepted at face value unless some sort of danger or dishonor is attached. The witty SFC sounds like he/she was having a bad day.
I don't think it matters if civilians don't really understand. Heck, I don't understand what a combat member goes though. They understand enough to appreciate what we do or did to some degree, and that should be enough. Ultimately, we serve for our own sense of honor & duty, any outside recognition should be appreciated and cherished without judgment.
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SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
SMSgt Lawrence McCarter
3 y
I find a simple response like" Thank You for thanking Me " works pretty, they didn't have to say anything and this is a lot better than the response We got when I returned from Vietnam. I'm also glad more recent Veteran's are getting a better response than We did, they don't deserve anything less and neither did We. Getting a Thank You is fine, don't look for a motive, be glad that those words were used.
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