We say thank you on a day like today for those who sacrificed their lives in service to this country, during times of war and of peace throughout our history.
But today, I also say “thank you” to another group of people: to those who haven’t served a day in uniform, stood the post or watch, or understand what military service is all about. I say thank you to the majority of this nation that choose not to serve, because today’s force is an all-volunteer one.
I say thank you because in America’s not to distant past, military service men and women were not honored. The turmoil of the Vietnam War is over 40 years in our rearview mirror. And while not complete, the country has reconciled that hate and shame of that era.
Today, if you log on to your favorite social media engine of choice, you’ll find it littered with pictures and status updates reminding people to be thankful of those who gave their lives in military service. You’ll find people generally saying, “thanks.”
And as a Veteran of 11-plus years, and currently still serving, I’ve already gotten several messages of thank you from friends who have never served.
Messages of gratitude.
So on this Memorial Day, let’s continue to say “thank you” for the “right reasons.” But let’s also recognize and celebrate that as a country, while we still have a ways to go (especially with issues like moral injury and PTSD, re-entry into civilian life post-deployment), we have the ability to heal from wounds caused by ideology and dogmatic belief, wounds caused by hate and fear.
We have the ability to heal, and as a nation, come together to say “thank you,” not just on this Memorial Day, but every day.
And for that, I am grateful. I say “thank you.”