Don't Say 'Thank You'; Do 'Thank You'

None of the veterans I know likes it when Americans say to us, "Thank you for your service."  We understand many people mean well, but they have no idea that it is actually insulting, because they have no idea what we went through to have the incredible privilege to be...well, veterans.

We swore an oath – not to the president, not to a politician, not to "America," not to the government, not to ourselves and our buddies, but to the Constitution of the United States of America and nothing else.  Those of us who were privileged enough to stay in for at least twenty years to retire swore that oath several times.  We swore the oath every time we were promoted.  We knew, and those still on active duty know, that the oath includes the distinct possibility that we would lose our lives to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies both foreign and domestic."  We set aside many of our freedoms to provide and maintain your freedom.  Many of our friends gave their lives to provide and maintain your freedom.  That's different from passing the salt or holding open a door.

When we hear the "thank you for your service," we fear that most are making an issue of themselves to show the people around them how much they "care."  Again, we didn't just pass the salt.  We went through months and years of specific and intense training to do a job together in a small unit, belonging to a larger unit, and so on to provide and maintain your freedom.

So, what's my point?  We want you to do "thank you" and stop saying "thank you."  If you still feel the need to say it, that's okay, but understand that it makes us uncomfortable.  We volunteered, they paid us, and every vet I know is eternally grateful that we were privileged to serve.  Saying "thank you" is not necessary, and frankly, it sounds pathetic.

We do understand your appreciation and desire to let us know because we too appreciate and are grateful for the sacrifices made by those with whom we served.  That said, the following are some recommendations on how you can thank a veteran or active-duty military person in a way that we know you mean it.

Read and learn the Constitution in context and find out why it was written.  Understand and learn in context the first Ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights – all of them.  Do it when no one else is looking and do it for yourself, for your own pursuit.

Vote for political leaders who know and understand that wonderful, biblically based document.  Sadly, very few of them have a clue.  Out of 537 federally elected politicians, my guess is that there are maybe a dozen who do.  Most prove their cluelessness daily, and usually on camera.

Yes, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are biblically based.  Read the letters – the actual words of the Founders, and not just constitutional expert Professor Buttinski's interpretation.  Read the newspaper articles written by the Christian pastors before the Declaration of Independence was written.  The Founders weren't merely deists.  They were Christians, and it doesn't mean you have to become one – that's your business – but it will be obvious that they were and that maybe, just maybe, the constitutional experts like good old Professor Buttinski are one hundred percent wrong.

Find out and understand exactly what those freedoms under the Constitution mean and what real limited government is, because the Constitution limits the power of government, and it does so on purpose.  Find out and understand why it is critical to our nation's existence to limit the government's power.  If you visit Washington, D.C., you will actually see with your own eyes how much our elected leaders are willing to spend on your government.  It will become obvious that the exact opposite of a limited government has taken place and that they intend for us to have a limitless government.  Do something about that, first with your vote.

Find the APO or FPO address of a military unit and send a care package to Any Marine, Any Sailor, Any Soldier, Any Airman; you get the picture.  Do it when no one else is looking.  They may or may not write back, and don't be offended if they don't, because they probably don't have time, but they will appreciate it more than you can ever imagine, and it will boost their morale infinitely more than being forced to be a backdrop for a politician's speech.

And if you want to thank a Marine, take the time to visit the National Museum of the United States Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.  If you can, adjust your schedule to get my old squadron-mate and docent, Doug Doerr, to be your guide, and tell him Logger sent you.  Ask him if he'll take you on the Gilligan Island-sized tour and not the short one-hour tour.  Ask him to explain the piece of the Cobra tail of Echo Mike 32.  If Doug has time, he'd love to do it.  If you're patient, he'll even tell you the secret ingredient that makes a Marine.  I promise, it's worth finding out.  If you're a crusty old Marine vet, bring some tissues.  You'll need them.

The above are suggestions and examples of the many ways you can do thank you and not say thank you, as if we're supposed to respond with "you're welcome."  In time, you'll find that doing thank you and not saying thank you is much better, and it is the way we prefer that you show appreciation.  In our hearts, we'll thank you right back.

None of the veterans I know likes it when Americans say to us, "Thank you for your service."  We understand many people mean well, but they have no idea that it is actually insulting, because they have no idea what we went through to have the incredible privilege to be...well, veterans.

We swore an oath – not to the president, not to a politician, not to "America," not to the government, not to ourselves and our buddies, but to the Constitution of the United States of America and nothing else.  Those of us who were privileged enough to stay in for at least twenty years to retire swore that oath several times.  We swore the oath every time we were promoted.  We knew, and those still on active duty know, that the oath includes the distinct possibility that we would lose our lives to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies both foreign and domestic."  We set aside many of our freedoms to provide and maintain your freedom.  Many of our friends gave their lives to provide and maintain your freedom.  That's different from passing the salt or holding open a door.

When we hear the "thank you for your service," we fear that most are making an issue of themselves to show the people around them how much they "care."  Again, we didn't just pass the salt.  We went through months and years of specific and intense training to do a job together in a small unit, belonging to a larger unit, and so on to provide and maintain your freedom.

So, what's my point?  We want you to do "thank you" and stop saying "thank you."  If you still feel the need to say it, that's okay, but understand that it makes us uncomfortable.  We volunteered, they paid us, and every vet I know is eternally grateful that we were privileged to serve.  Saying "thank you" is not necessary, and frankly, it sounds pathetic.

We do understand your appreciation and desire to let us know because we too appreciate and are grateful for the sacrifices made by those with whom we served.  That said, the following are some recommendations on how you can thank a veteran or active-duty military person in a way that we know you mean it.

Read and learn the Constitution in context and find out why it was written.  Understand and learn in context the first Ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights – all of them.  Do it when no one else is looking and do it for yourself, for your own pursuit.

Vote for political leaders who know and understand that wonderful, biblically based document.  Sadly, very few of them have a clue.  Out of 537 federally elected politicians, my guess is that there are maybe a dozen who do.  Most prove their cluelessness daily, and usually on camera.

Yes, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are biblically based.  Read the letters – the actual words of the Founders, and not just constitutional expert Professor Buttinski's interpretation.  Read the newspaper articles written by the Christian pastors before the Declaration of Independence was written.  The Founders weren't merely deists.  They were Christians, and it doesn't mean you have to become one – that's your business – but it will be obvious that they were and that maybe, just maybe, the constitutional experts like good old Professor Buttinski are one hundred percent wrong.

Find out and understand exactly what those freedoms under the Constitution mean and what real limited government is, because the Constitution limits the power of government, and it does so on purpose.  Find out and understand why it is critical to our nation's existence to limit the government's power.  If you visit Washington, D.C., you will actually see with your own eyes how much our elected leaders are willing to spend on your government.  It will become obvious that the exact opposite of a limited government has taken place and that they intend for us to have a limitless government.  Do something about that, first with your vote.

Find the APO or FPO address of a military unit and send a care package to Any Marine, Any Sailor, Any Soldier, Any Airman; you get the picture.  Do it when no one else is looking.  They may or may not write back, and don't be offended if they don't, because they probably don't have time, but they will appreciate it more than you can ever imagine, and it will boost their morale infinitely more than being forced to be a backdrop for a politician's speech.

And if you want to thank a Marine, take the time to visit the National Museum of the United States Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.  If you can, adjust your schedule to get my old squadron-mate and docent, Doug Doerr, to be your guide, and tell him Logger sent you.  Ask him if he'll take you on the Gilligan Island-sized tour and not the short one-hour tour.  Ask him to explain the piece of the Cobra tail of Echo Mike 32.  If Doug has time, he'd love to do it.  If you're patient, he'll even tell you the secret ingredient that makes a Marine.  I promise, it's worth finding out.  If you're a crusty old Marine vet, bring some tissues.  You'll need them.

The above are suggestions and examples of the many ways you can do thank you and not say thank you, as if we're supposed to respond with "you're welcome."  In time, you'll find that doing thank you and not saying thank you is much better, and it is the way we prefer that you show appreciation.  In our hearts, we'll thank you right back.