The great men and women of our Military, in all it’s branches, fight a war every day. Sometimes it is the fight we all wage against our selves. When a service man or women is praised, the war starts all over again, inside. Guilt, insecurity, and maybe anger can rise to the surface and make it hard to accept the feeble gifts of those who don’t know better how to express their thanks to those who wage the war of liberty for us. Our liberty means the lack of liberty for those who serve. The lack of liberty to accept the easy words of those who do not know what happened “over there”, or even “right here”.
Even military spouses do not often know, or understand those things. How can we, then, assume to understand?
We do not want to thank as a way to serve ourselves, do we? How easy it is to write off our great debt with a Thank You? And how removed it is from the evils of war.
Perhaps it is more like the real war is about survival among brothers in arms. Knowing that, would it change what we say, or how we feel? While most of us mean well, in our attempts to support our Military, we need to keep in mind, that being thanked casually, can come off like, “Gees, thanks for being the only one in your troop that didn’t get blown up.” What kind of response is there, for a thing like that?
Better Ways to Support Our Military
Thinking of ways that take some sacrifice on our own part helps us come up with better solutions.
- Ask them were they are stationed, how long they will be there, where they fought, almost anything is better than a mere, “Thank You.” Acknowledge that is must have been really tough, and that you really would like to understand that better, is a start in the right direction.
- Promise them that you will be sure to vote next time, is one way to help that soldier to feel like you care about putting the best people in office who will decide about which wars to get into.
- Offer a vet a job. Be prepared to cover the costs of any remedial or specific education or training needed. Tell the vet, the job is his when he is done.
- Fund organizations that help returning vets.
- Invest in the education of their children. It isn’t easy saving enough for a child’s college education on a military income.
- Make an effort to get to know that person as a person.
- Military men and women would LOVE to share a home-cooked meal around your family table. They need ‘family’ away from home.
- Once you have made the investment of friendship, gently ask real questions about their experience. Learn how to best support them emotionally.
The time to say “Thank You” will come naturally, down the road, after you have invested in their lives and earned the right to say it.