Posted on Nov 9, 2014
LCpl Steve Wininger
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I work for the campus newspaper at Indiana State University where I attend college. I recently wrote a preview article for upcoming events that are taking place on campus. Additionally, I have requested to be the reporter that covers those events.

In an interview I did with one of the organizers, she said that people should honor veterans everyday, not just a couple times a year.

This raised several questions for me. Do people who have never served, really understand the sacrifice active duty service members and veterans have made, this includes those who are in the reserve or National Guard component?

When someone says thank you or I appreciate your service, do they really understand or even know what they are thanking you for?

There have been discussions on here about how our government is trying to push patriotism out of the schools and public places. Do you feel that future generations may not be as appreciative of the sacrifices being made for them?

Feel free to add anything to this discussion. I have done some research papers in the past about how our own government does not even support the armed forces through executive actions and legislation.
Edited 6 y ago
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Responses: 26
COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
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Do people who have never served, really understand the sacrifice active duty service members and veterans have made?
- No. About 330 million Americans and less than 1% have ever served. A percentage may know of the sacrifice but an even smaller percentage understands the sacrifice.
- Your question shows that you yourself have a limited understanding in that you left out the National Guard and Reserve who have sacrificed just as much as the active component since 2001 to the present (not to mention prior to that).
- I have served for over 22 years and even my extended family and my wife's family have a limited understanding of my family's (wife/daughters) and my sacrifice.
- I don't think this was always true. The WWII generation either actually served themselves or had an immediate family member who served. This is not true today.

When someone says thank you or I appreciate your service, do they really understand or even know what they are thanking you for?
- Again no but saying thank you is at least a start point to begin understanding. Even this small step was not done for our Vietnam veterans.

Pushing patriotism out of schools and public places. Will future generations not be as appreciative?
- Absolutely yes and this can have potentially extreme negative consequences for our nation. We have only those freedoms that we are willing to fight for and defend. If people do not value the contributions of veterans then they will be less willing to volunteer themselves and thus less willing to fight for and defend their freedoms. Plus people need to understand that freedom is earned by every generation and is not necessarily a birthright.
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
6 y
LCpl Wininger, my post was not meant to poke you in the eye. One of the points I wanted to make is that words have meaning (active duty). Another is that we can not assume that everyone knows. How can everyone know when so few actually serve?
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SSgt Forensic Meteorological Consultant
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM They don't and the more disconnected they become over the years and the Bush is a War Criminal kind of rhetoric and America is not exceptional from the WhiteHouse, a slipper slope is being greased.
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SPC Michael Terrell
SPC Michael Terrell
7 mo
I've had people tell me that Firemen and Police Officers go though the same things that those in the service do. I ask them how many of either go a year or more at a time without seeing their family. How many of either would work for the low pay that those in the various branches of our Military services do. How many would work the hours that we did, and in housing that was often substandard. The old wood buildings were fire traps, with no AC, and little heat. At some places the food was crap, but there was no other place to eat.
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Maj Gail Lofdahl
Maj Gail Lofdahl
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Unfortunately, "Thank you for your service" often means, "Thank you for serving so I didn't have to waste my precious time doing it and could concentrate on making lots of money for myself."
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Capt Richard P.
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Edited 6 y ago
LCpl Steve Wininger, I think COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM and CW5 (Join to see) have both made some fair points. I come down on the side that they don't understand us, and they can't. There is a growing divide, one that there are several other RP topics on. We don't fully understand them nor do they fully understand us. I suspect most of the time when they thank us for our service they do so to feel slightly better about themselves: "I thanked a vet today." I don't think they want to think about what we've endured, what we've purchased or at what price. I think sometimes we don't want to think about it either, maybe if we could we would be just as ignorant, mumble a simple "thank you" and never need to wrestle with whether it was worth this Sgt or that Private's life to buy a small peace of dirt in Afghanistan or Iraq that we have since abandoned. We would never have to confront whether our actions have increased or decreased freedom at home over the past 13 years. But we do. We must, we bear this burden of thoughtfulness, and we owe it to our fallen comrades to think on the price, and what was purchased. And whether it is worth it, and whether we can get it more cheaply, or whether we need to reconsider our what we ought to be buying.

Semper Fidelis, Happy MC Birthday and Happy Veterans day.
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SSgt Forensic Meteorological Consultant
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Capt Richard P. Largely war-weariness can be part of that now as well as the politics of today. Because part of that consternation has the results of the loss of family members and that's not a small thing either.
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Capt Richard P.
Capt Richard P.
6 y
SSgt (Join to see) Well said. I'm out of upvotes.
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MAJ Dale E. Wilson, Ph.D.
MAJ Dale E. Wilson, Ph.D.
1 mo
Just today I was on the phone with a customer service rep who asked me if I'd been in the service, I told her I'd spent 22 years in the army and she gushed: "Oooh! My dad was in the army! He was an engineer and said he spent all his time building things." I replied that I spent many years in the infantry and armor, living in miserable places, under miserable conditions, away from my family and blew a lot of things up. . . .
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CW5 Desk Officer
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Edited 6 y ago
LCpl Steve Wininger, I do think that most Americans "get it" and appreciate the sacrifices of military members and their families. They won't completely understand the sacrifices because they haven't experienced them themselves, but I do think the support is genuine.

That support is probably enhanced by the news media reporting on the sacrifices, the stories about long deployments, short dwell times, etc. That's how most Americans get their information, so it's swell that the TV news presents a fair number of stories about our military.

Plus, top politicians frequently say thank you and make a point of talking up the contributions of our military. I think there's been a surge in patriotism since 9/11/2001. In our recent history there have been ups and downs on this issue. I think that post-9/11 has been an up period.
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LCpl Steve Wininger
LCpl Steve Wininger
6 y
The events planned at the college where I attend gives me hope that patriotism is alive and well in America.

Recent reports I have seen where kids are being made to recite the Mexican pledge, or are being punished for showing their patriotism do give me cause for alarm. I am thankful they are isolated and pray that public pressure and patriotism will stamp them out.
I think schools should be off on veterans day, or the curriculum for the day should focus on veterans and the sacrifices made for liberty and freedom.
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SSgt Forensic Meteorological Consultant
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LCpl Steve Wininger The condemnation of Major Hasan (the Fort Hood TERRORISt) seems to be a non-story.
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LT Jay Bauer
LT Jay Bauer
8 mo
Unfortunately most people don’t understand the sacrifice both the families or service people undergoing wish they dix
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MAJ Dale E. Wilson, Ph.D.
MAJ Dale E. Wilson, Ph.D.
1 mo
LCpl Steve Wininger - Goodluck with that if Biden and the Social Democrats win next week. . . .
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