Culture

I’m a veteran who hates when people tell me “Thank you for your service”

I don’t speak for all veterans. I was just a simple sailor in Navy who served like my grandfathers, uncles and other relatives before me. I did nothing special. I just did my job.  These are my beliefs and my beliefs alone.

soldier-996536_1920

I hesitated to write this because of the push back, but I feel like I have to be honest. I hate when people tell me “thank you for your service.” Of course, I politely say thank you, but I cringe inside knowing that’s not the case. When I hear it it’s kind of like saying “god bless you” when someone sneezes. It’s polite, we were all taught to do it, but it’s empty. You see as a veteran, I kept my commitment. I did four years in the world’s finest Navy. Unfortunately, this government, no our government didn’t keep its commitment. Here’s why I don’t want you to thank me:

  • Don’t thank me for my service when veterans are told by employers that celebrate Veterans Day their qualifications and certifications in the military don’t transfer to the civilian world.

“Approximately one out of two (53%) separating Post-9/11 Veterans will face a period of unemployment.” Source: 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report

  • Don’t thank me for my service when Department of Labors all over the country continue to direct veterans to low wage and unskilled jobs. DOLs and employers don’t see military service from the world’s greatest military, the same one expected to protect them, as equal to a college education.
States with the Highest Unemployment Rate for Gulf War II Veterans
States Unemployment Rate
Arkansas 14.2
Connecticut 12.9
Hawaii 12.7

Source: JEC Democratic staff using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Don’t thank me for my service because of the V.A. bureaucracy it takes months for veterans to access their GIBill benefits.
  • Don’t thank me for my service when veterans have to wait for healthcare, travel miles to see a doctor or jump through impossible hoops to prove service connected injuries to get access to their benefits.
  • Don’t thank me for my service when women who’ve served are told by the Veterans Administration it can’t provide certain services for them because they don’t have the capacity to treat women.

As of January 2014, 8.6 percent of the total homeless population in the United States are Veterans. Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness Veteran’s Homelessness Fact Sheet

  • Don’t thank me for my service when there should be no such thing as a homeless veteran.

At least 22 veterans commit suicide every single day. Source: ThinkProgress.org

  • Don’t thank me when veterans at an alarming rate see suicide as their only option.
  • Don’t thank me for my service when you’ve ignored veterans 364 days out of the year.

I could keep on going, but I won’t. I hate complaining and I prefer action. So no, don’t thank me for my service. Keep your free meals, empty platitudes, photo ops, days off and your one day sales.  If we truly are thankful for a veteran’s service, instead of thanking a veteran for their service actually do something. Hire and invest in our nation’s best and brightest. Hire and invest in our veterans. To my fellow Veterans and their families, Happy Veterans Day. May we one day live in a country that takes action and truly shows it is thankful for your service.

The only limit you have is the one you have placed on yourself. Think and be limitless.

L. A. Moore
USN/ Widow of a Combat Veteran (USN)
2000-2004

If you like this post please share it and help me out by donating at www.bougieBlackgirl.com/donate.

Share:

10 comments

  1. Rose 11 November, 2015 at 12:25 Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this!! I, too, served in the Navy and despise when people tell me this!! I tell them that I was paid to do my job and that if they really understood all of the motives behind our military actions then the would not be thanking me. Thank you and thank you!!

  2. Donna 11 November, 2015 at 14:06 Reply

    I too served in the US Army (Active) 1993-1998 & US Air Force Reserves 1999-2002. When we got out, we were pretty much on our own, no transition programs, no veteran groups to to help us navigate back into the civilian world, no hire a veteran program, no benefits orientation, i.e. voc rehab, etc. Many of us missed out on our benefits because by the time we were told we were eligible, the 10+ years mark expired, & the veteran reps at the regional office love to reject/deny all requests for services. When my uncle to obtain services (he was an ex-Navy), he was told they only service the post 9/11 veterans. So they are many veterans who totally missed out on their benefits because they were pre 9/11 military. Many of us pre 9/11 veterans have been put in harms way/dead (combat, physically harmed, terrorist bombings, etc.) through various missions…..but it will never be publicized because it is on a need to know basis. Someone I was stationed with died in a terrorist bombing back in 1998. We both left our respective duty station, him PCS , me deploying…..I came back alive & he didn’t. I have volunteered with homeless outreaches & there are veterans from the Vietnam War who are living on the street. My only saving grace was a vet rep at my last duty station-Ft Gordon, GA that help me put my packet together to file for my disability. If I didn’t receive her help, I probably wouldn’t have gotten my disability rating. The only people to help veterans will be other sincere veterans to help them navigate through the VA system & the civilian world, i.e. homeless outreaches & other veteran grassroots groups.

  3. Heather 11 November, 2015 at 19:37 Reply

    I disagree with much of this. However, this one statement rings especially true: don’t thank Veterans when you ignore them the other 364 days a year.

    Yes. 100%. In general people are clueless about what Veterans and their families go through. But a genuine thank you has helped many from adding to the travesty of the suicide statistic that now exists. This I know for fact. I disagree with discouraging thank you’s. You never know what those two words mean to someone else just because they mean nothing to you.

    (Wife, daughter, granddaughter and niece of Veterans).

    • Andrea 6 December, 2015 at 14:00 Reply

      Heather, you must have missed the part where she wrote that she was only speaking for herself, and not for anyone else. No where did she say that saying “thank you” doesn’t mean something to anyone else, and no where does she discourage it — she’s only sharing what SHE feels.

      You’re disagreeing with how she feels, but since you aren’t her, your disagreement rings hollow. You also seem to be disagreeing with her choice to publish this post, and since you are not the boss of her, that disagreement is hollow, too.

  4. LJ 23 March, 2016 at 19:39 Reply

    As the wife, daughter and niece of veterans, along with being a veteran myself, I’m here to say stop thanking us for our service.

    1) It’s a conversation killer. What are we supposed to say to that? If we say “you’re welcome,” it sounds ridiculous and egomaniacal.

    2) I don’t care what anybody thinks of my service, one way or another. Uncle Sam knows what it was. I know what it was. That’s why I don’t need validation for it from anyone, especially not from people who have no clue what it was.

    3) Isn’t it interesting how much more we get these thanks when other people are around to witness the exchange, an audience, if you will? Hm. Couldn’t be that they want everyone to know how much more patriotic they are than everyone else, could it?

    So veterans tell me: How many of you like having your service used as a prop in some civvie’s lame psychodrama?

    I don’t.

    4) Words are worse than useless. You want to thank a vet? Volunteer at the VA, rather than mouthing stupid, empty platitudes at me that do F-all.

  5. katie 13 November, 2016 at 18:57 Reply

    First off my condolences to you, bougie black girl on your spouse.
    The post was SPOT ON! and I’m SO glad that you did. It had to be said and a veteran had to say it.
    For what its worth the last point was your strongest and tied it all together and then use the first two points.
    Cant lie I had a hard time keeping my USAF bearing and discipline when you said that may America one day invest in its best and brightest and hire veterans and shows that it truly does appreciate our service.
    The last twenty two years I got steered into low rent low pay customer service jobs and was told that my AF skills, abilities and accomplishments didn’t really count out in the civilian world. What followed was long periods of under employment, unemployment, and a few bouts with homelessness – all because I could not sell my USAF time into something more. And that is on me! But at fifty one I’m proud to say that I am about to graduate college and apply to law school. Your last line is also true that the only limits are those you place on yourself. Thanks again for the post. Katie Casey.

  6. Tommy 13 January, 2017 at 15:05 Reply

    Saw this and posted a link to this in a Linked IN rant today. Also might have blown up Linked In but hopefully it went out in another direction to a wider audience!

Leave a reply