Memorial Day

It is a good day in to be home; to stay home. Not that it makes a difference in Germany bit still. I don’t many service members who appreciate hearing “thanks for your service.” Maybe it means something to those who served in Viet Nam and were reviled for their wearing of the uniform , willing or not.

But for most of those who have served since the advent of the volunteer force, it was something we chose to do for a variety of reasons. Those reasons are our own and frankly being thanked for them is uncomfortable to embarrassing.

I find that it acknowledges a separation between those of us who have served in the various armed forces and those who have not. That thanks is an acknowledgement on their part that they have not done their share as a citizen of their country, a fact that I don’t really want to know.

It is not keeping the world safe for democracy, a phrase that fortunately lost both meaning and worth with the end of the Cold War. The US is not the arbiter of what is right/good in the world. Instead it is one of a number of constructional democracies that appeals to immigrants as offering a better way of life than what they are leaving at home. But 911 save the world it is not the role should it be taking.

Much better for those walking and working in the US to thank those in their communities contributing to their local quality of life on a daily basis: the police, firefighters, teachers, first responders. Thank those who do for others on a daily basis.

It is not that I regret my 30+ years in uniform; taking care for those putting themselves in harms’ sway or occasionally finding myself joining them at one of those fun and special locations. It is rather that I neither want nor expect thanks from those who have not been there. And those that were? We acknowledged each other at the time.

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