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Old 02-22-2015, 10:31 AM
 
436 posts, read 306,818 times
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I think it's also a matter of how one is "supposed" to respond. "You're welcome"? Smarmy. "Oh, sure, it's nothing." Trivializing. :Glad to do it?" No way. Staring at them blankly, or mumbling something, etc. is rude. "Thank YOU for your support!" seems to be what most people want to hear. So by them thanking you, and you thanking them, it's equal? I don't know. What IS the proper response to that?
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Old 02-22-2015, 01:10 PM
 
Location: southern kansas
7,599 posts, read 5,111,496 times
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Being a Vietnam combat veteran, I thought this 'thank a veteran' thing was good when it first started. It was so much better than being spit on, called a war criminal, or worse yet... ignored by everyone. It meant that maybe the country was starting to put the blame for unpopular wars where it belonged, on the heads of our government leaders. But it has become overused and overdone almost to the point of being meaningless.
I can only recall a few times in recent years where anyone said 'thanks for your service' to me, and it made me a little uncomfortable. But it's not a big deal to me one way or another. I don't need to hear it, but if someone says it, I won't get upset about it.
My niece's son pulled to tours in Afghanistan in an infantry unit. During my first conversation with him when he came home I did not thank him for his service, but I did tell him that if he ever needed someone to talk to, to pick up the phone and call me... day or night. IMO that would be far more helpful to him than an obligatory 'thank you for your service'. He's doing well as a civilian and hasn't felt the need to call me. But the offer still stands, and he knows it.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:03 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,156 posts, read 6,342,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenapple View Post
I think it's also a matter of how one is "supposed" to respond. "You're welcome"? Smarmy. "Oh, sure, it's nothing ." Trivializing. :Glad to do it?" No way. Staring at them blankly, or mumbling something, etc. is rude. "Thank YOU for your support!" seems to be what most people want to hear. So by them thanking you, and you thanking them, it's equal? I don't know. What IS the proper response to that?
Most of the veterans I've seen have responded to the thanks with a nod or some sort of nonverbal acknowledgement, otherwise it's hard to say what an appropriate response would be. I don't think ignoring the thanks is a great idea, but it seems as though some of the Viet Nam vets, including my husband,( who sure weren't thanked for their service back in the day) are a little flustered by that thanks, for some reason.

FWIW, I don't generally thank a military person ( or a veteran) for his/her service, because IMO that thanks has become somewhat trite through overuse. Doesn't mean I don't appreciate their sacrifices, their service to our country, but I might try to let them know that in other ways. Depending on the reasons for meeting up with a service person, or veteran, I'd provide them with the best help, customer service, be a good neighbor, or friend, or employer, do my utmost as I can to help them have a good life and be successful.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:10 PM
 
1,316 posts, read 939,776 times
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I can relate to his thoughts. When people say that to me I just want to tell them I don't do it for them. But I just say "you're welcome."
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:18 PM
 
888 posts, read 719,349 times
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Meh. RVN vet here and can't really say I like when people say it. I did what I did, end of story. On vets day each year I post a little pic of something I put together that is vet related. More the likes of something a combat vet would understand and remember. I get well meaning people who are contacts that post a Thank You and it always makes me feel like I was posting it fishing for that.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
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While I have never served, I do have relatives and personal friends who have. And I could thank and shake their hands all day long. But inside I am hating that so many are homeless and unemployed. It doesnt matter if anyone agrees with why they enlisted and went overseas because if they thrust themselves into something that could send them to their graves instead of no doing so, I sincerely commend them. So can we move beyond the superficial and get them all homes, pensions and even vehicles, but most of all, mental health care for those in need of it? Or is that too humane?
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:58 PM
 
436 posts, read 306,818 times
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To put it another way... let's say you're having a really crappy day. Really, really bad. Wife left you, dog died, crashed your car on the way to work, and you're about to be fired, as well as finding out you have cancer.

Then someone says, "Hey there, how are ya?" when they pass you down the hall. You know they're just doing it to be polite and mean nothing by it, but you grit your teeth anyway. Are they really looking for an honest response? Or are they just expecting you to say something conventional, like, "Keeping busy!" while you truck on with a fake smile plastered on? Similar thing, I guess. If you're in a fine mood, "How are ya" is harmless. If you're not, it's not. It just reminds you that you're actually in a really bad place, and realizing that the other person is not someone you should start venting to about your problems, because really? They don't really care in the first place.

(Or if you're Pete Campbell, you can answer, "Not so great, Bob," and become an Internet meme. Hee.)
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Subconscious Syncope, USA (Northeastern US)
2,367 posts, read 1,524,514 times
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Im not sure that I can appreciate every war and police action America has been a part of.

Veteran's Day has always been a day that I could thank a still living veteran for their service, regardless of how I personally felt about my country participating in that particular war. I have never been in a war and wouldnt want to actively participate in one, so it behooves me to thank those who have put their lives on the line for this country.

Even if they never see any action at all, when they sign up to the millitary, they take the step to put their lives on the line for America.

On Veteran's Day we as citizens take the time to remember those who have fallen in our own families, and in different millitary campaigns. It's not all about that one Vet that doesnt feel the reward for his service was good enough from the government.

Like others have said, I have bought the poppies for years, and attended events where Veteran's in their campaign or POW/MIA regalia engoyed people randomly shaking their hands and saying, "thank you."

Most of us really dont have any other way to compensate you, and merely attempt to honor you.

If you feel it is an empty sentiment, then that's on you. It's not empty to me.

If you prefer society to just forget about, and hit the malls on Veteran's Day - fine. Discourage us from taking the time out of our lives to thank you.
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:28 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
11,373 posts, read 7,416,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplepeach View Post
Just read an article on MSN about a vet that is offended when people tell him "thanks for your service."
Claims it is empty, thoughtless because anyone who wasn't there doesn't understand, etc.

I say- don't be offended by people who didn't share in that experience. He VOLUNTEERED; it was his choice.

It even says within military groups some militants make fun of the phrase with each other.

Cripes! What the h***do they want us to say to them?? Nothing??

Think of the Vietnam vets- I'm sure they would have loved to hear people thank them for their service.
Here's another Viet Nam vet who finds this practice irritating. Turning up noses at us was a fad back then, and gushing over our service is a fad now.
Just let it go, I say.

When I see a "Viet Nam Vet" sign on a car or something I will say in passing, "Hey. Welcome back." That phrase always gets a smile, even if a bit wan, and a hand shake.
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
8,088 posts, read 7,321,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenapple View Post
Re: The people who are saying "it was their own choice to serve" - yeah, and the majority of them were barely out of high school when they enlisted. (Not talking about career officers etc.) You read all the time about celebrities or even just local young people who mess up in life, DUI's and whatnot, are "just kids" and "didn't know any better" and "they'll grow up, eventually." Hell, most people think that an 18 year old getting married is committing a huge mistake, they don't know what they're getting into, etc. How do these same people then turn around and think that impressionable, typically low-income teens who are being pursued by recruiters and sign-on bonuses (I know it's not quite like that now, but recently that was the case) should be held accountable to a different standard? I know plenty of people who went to college without the slightest idea about what it would be like, and either partied and ignored their classes, changed majors, transferred, dropped out, moved back home... things you can't do once you sign on to the military. I'm not saying all service members should be idolized, but the argument of "well, they CHOSE to do it" annoys me. It's not like you can just change your mind once you get there and realize you're in a crappy situation that maybe isn't quite as glamorous as you thought it'd be.
I do not see any relevancy in what you wrote above. One group chose to enlist and the other group chose to do what they did whether college or straight to work out of HS. Everyone chooses what they do in life.

Very few military personnel ever actually see combat or are placed in danger.

Oh and my brother was in Afghanistan for three years. Prior to that Haiti, Djibouti, and some other hell holes not worth mentioning. He does not give a **** what a civilian or even most military think. Plenty of REMFs in the military.

Last edited by Felix C; 02-22-2015 at 04:41 PM..
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