A quick note to catch up on my disappearance over the past couple of months. In May and June, I traveled extensively. I am back home and have finally caught up at work and home. I will return to my reflections on the Peace and Justice Memorial, but recently, I have been thinking about the United States of America. After all, we just celebrated Flag Day, Independence Day, and we have been in International news a lot lately.
Once people realize that I am in the military, I receive an obligatory, “thank you for your service.” I am appreciative of this remark, because when I was younger, military service members received far less. But, I find that this statement can often ring hollow.
It is not that people aren’t grateful, but they are out of touch. Most people in the United States have little idea of what service members go through, or the depth of training and experience they have to share. We are offered discounts to activities, and that is nice, but it isn’t necessarily what people want or need. In my experience, veterans need a job to go to when they leave the military, someone to help their families with simple tasks when they are deployed to the war zone, a little understanding when PTSD symptoms lead to overtly anxious behavior, and support for their children who are often left without a place to call home, or a school to claim. It may seem like a lot, but it is the sort of thanks we really want.
Thank you for your service, like most things, should be more than words. I recommend that you take the time to thank someone for their service, whether they serve on active duty, in the guard or the reserves. Thank them with more than words. Thank them with a little help, a lot of support, and unceasing prayer. And, don’t forget their family, they serve, too.