Veteran’s Day is a day that many service members get anxious about — what do I say when people say, “Happy Veteran’s Day”?. Many service members, past or current, feel that taking credit as a card-carrying Veteran somehow dishonors those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Veteran’s Day was established as a completely different holiday than Memorial Day — one in which we honor our fallen brothers and sisters — where the general public can honor and celebrate the selfless service that everyone who has raised their right hand has made. Many who have their lives and limbs intact feel uncomfortable when people thank them for their service because it was beaten into us that pride and self are things we shipped home to mom when we became government property. In a profession based on operating as a unit and a strong emphasis on courage, bravery, and death as the ultimate sacrifice, it is easy for those who have not made the ultimate sacrifice — nor had the opportunity to do so — to undervalue their own service.
It is important to remember that, no matter your reason for joining, your MOS, and whether or not you have made the round trip downrange or not, you had the fortitude to raise your right hand and make the promise that if your number was pulled you would be willing, and remain able, to defend our great nation from enemies — both foreign or domestic — no matter the personal cost. Whether you served for six years in the Reserves or Guard, or you served for two years on active duty, stateside, or you retired as a sergeant major with a dozen deployments under your belt, you went where the government told you, did the job you were issued, and served your purpose. So, this Veteran’s Day when you are thanked for your service, rather than awkwardly searching for something to say in return, hold your head high and proudly respond with a “thank you for your support.” For everyone who knows and loves you, and even those to whom you are a stranger, they are offering their support and showing respect in their thanks.
And, from one proud Veteran to another, happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for your service.