How many times have you gone off base and went out to eat or went shopping while in uniform? You know the drill. People come up to you and tell you “thank you for your service”. They even offer to buy your lunch. The big hardware stores and restaurants offer a discount, and the cashier is required to say ” thank you for your service”.
Kinda gets old; doesn’t it? You know these kids at the cash register mean well, but you also know that because of your time in uniform and your sacrifice; they don’t have to give up what you did. They can live a normal life because you gave up such a large portion of yours to keep them safe and free.
Sometimes, I see the veteran that has multiple bumper stickers and a ball cap emblazoned with his branch of service or his unit patch. He wears an OD green field jacket circa 1965. Then the first thing that comes to mind is the joke between the brethren; ” Thank ME for MY service!” But now, I feel sorry for the vet that seems to be frozen in time and his major accomplishment in life was a couple of years in uniform. Time must have stood still, as he is still wallowing in his younger years. We are all different, but please don’t be angry with me. I spent 12 years in uniform and loved it, but a peacetime Army sucks, and I needed more challenges than the Army had for me after the Viet Nam war.
Many soldiers retiring now have seen a combat-ready branch of service since they joined. They had a mission and they were allowed to accomplish that mission. After Viet Nam, the cold war was terrible for morale. We had casualties and missions, but there were no heroes and no victories.
I see today’s soldier, sailor, airman ( no I did not forget our sisters in uniform ) and I marvel at their physical fitness, their mental focus, and the sacrifices they endure. I could only hope to match up to their level of professional accomplishment. Not enough of our generation survived their injuries as do the modern soldier.
We gave up time with our family. You gave up the education and maybe the degree that would propel you to a high paying job. You may have given up a leg or an arm and your hearing and sight.
Your resume is doctored and slim when you look for work. ( who wants to hire a trained marksman). Hell, even the law enforcement field was closed to us after Viet Nam; because we were accused of being baby killers. The Sheriff I worked for was scared to let me carry a weapon. He assumed all soldiers were mental cases and would go off the deep end if they were put under stress. The public stigma was caused by a bunch of social justice warriors. ( we called them hippies )
Due to your injuries; you may never play basketball again as you did in high school. You are always checked and searched as you board a plane, because of the steel plate in your skull, or pins in your ankle.
See where this leads to. Frustration because now you can’t perform the job you loved, and you know your time is up. You have to move on, but what am I looking at:? What job will satisfy my ingrained training and my drive to succeed?
My answer to the “Thanks for your Service” mantra is; ” I hope you live a life worthy of the sacrifices made by so many”
Now is when I want to prove to you that I really do “thank you for your service.”
I survived and you did too. Now what? Follow me here. I want to show you a path that will amaze you.
A path that is challenging and rewarding. A path that will lead you to financial freedom and with that, you can explore and look for all the things you gave up to serve our country. Enjoy more time and more money.
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