Veterans who wear hats or other memorabilia to distinguish themselves do so because they desire to be recognized for their service. I have the opportunity to speak with many of them.
I understand some have mixed feelings when they hear "Thank you for your service." They may appreciate the acknowledgment and the recognition of their sacrifices, or the phrase can sometimes feel trite, almost cliché, and fail to capture the depth of their experiences and the challenges they've faced.
"Thank you for your service" often highlights the disconnect between civilians and veterans. Civilians do not have a complete understanding of the complexities of military life. Even service members have a wide range of experiences, including deployment, from combat to non-combat roles and the difficulties they face when transitioning back to a civilian life. Veterans often feel as if they are being recognized without their civilian counterparts completely comprehending what they have gone through.
It's crucial to understand that most people who say "thank you for your service" are sincere in their gratitude for the sacrifices made by veterans. Though sometimes the words don't fully express how they feel, they nonetheless mean to be respectful and appreciative.
Veterans often appreciate authentic conversations that allow them to share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Instead of just saying, "Thank you for your service," asking curious questions can be engaging and meaningful.
When did you serve?
Where did you serve?
How long did you serve?
These questions are highly engaging and provide much more than just gratitude. Providing a listening ear holds great significance.
"Thank you for your service" is a well-intentioned expression of gratitude and most used when you encounter veterans. When time does not permit engaging in conversation, a sincere "Thank you for your service" is more than adequate.
Tomorrow is Veterans' Day. I pray you have been enlightened by this week's posts.
Watch for the blind spots.
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