Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Don't thank me

My son was home on leave from USMC and we were visiting his favorite coffee place. A friend of his said to me "Thank you for your sacrifice." I was genuinely taken speechless.

I hear this all the time, and usually with mindlessness equal to have a nice day. Thank you for your service. Like a triggered response to hearing someone is in the military.

The first time I heard it was at an Amway rally. The lady on stage went into a big speech about how veterans returning from Vietnam were disrespected and she wanted to do this big apology and thank any veterans present for their service. This was in the mid '80's. Those veterans were still in their 30' and 40's. I have heard about that disrespect as part of the anti-war movement, but I never personally saw it let alone participated. I have nothing to apologize for in this. 

And I am thankful for those who have served our country in many ways over the years. And I question, is a phrase that most people say without thought helping anyone? How about voting for benefits and for representatives who care about veterans ongoing needs? How about voting, period? How about opposing hate and war in the world?

There are times that we do have to fight to defend in our freedom. Many would argue that we are in such a fight today, with in our own borders. We are fighting for the constitution, for continued freedom of speech and of the press. We are fighting racism, violence, and an unjust prison system. If you have participated in one of the many protests, written your representatives, posted your opinions, or otherwise entered this fight, I do most sincerely thank you.

On this anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence it is good to remember the liberties that our founding fathers fought for, and continue the fight.

But please don't thank me for my sacrifice. I raised my son to make his own choices and he chose a path I would not have chosen. I supported him in following his own path. But I oppose war. With my whole heart I oppose warmongering. It was not my sacrifice, it was his.

So we wave flags and say the empty words. But believe these: thank you for your resistance.

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