Chris Marvin: For today’s veterans, service isn’t over when the uniform is put away

November 11, 2013

I fought in Afghanistan. When people learn of my military service, I get a variety of comments — none more common than “Thank you for your service.” My response sometimes surprises people. I look them in the eye and say, “You’re welcome.”

. . . When I began to respond with “You’re welcome,” I was concerned that it shocked people. I wondered if I was being too flippant or prideful. Then I realized that their reaction said something about what “Thank you for your service” now means in American culture. The phrase has become a reflex for civilians who don’t know what else to say. Most people today play a minimal role in national defense beyond expressing gratitude to those who have served on their behalf.

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When he first came home, after graduating from the University of Parris Island, you could see that “Thank you for your service” resulted in discomfort for Number One Son. But now, after nearly four years of service, he is used to that phrase and responds to the individual thanking him.

Number Two Son, who hasn’t been off base in nearly 5 months, will soon go through the same thing. However, with his brother coaching him, I am sure that he will not have the same discomfort and will be better prepared for your greetings and thanks.

I am extremely proud of my two sons, just ask me sometime. 🙂

Happy Veterans Day.

Thanks for the link, Matt.