Posts Tagged ‘veterans’

“Thank you for your service,” says golf pro Michael Allen to Major William McGarry, Bioenvironmental Equipment Engineer, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron during the last day of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., Saturday. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Meredith Mingledorff)

The family was listening, again, to the original cast album for the Broadway sensation Hamilton, when this dialogue from the song Helpless came on:
[ELIZA]
Thank you for all your service
[HAMILTON]
If it takes fighting a war for us to meet, it will have been worth it

And I laughed. The Wife wondered why, and I said that “Thank you for your service” is such a 21st century trope, used there as a deliberate anachronism. And by trope, I mean “a common or overused theme or device.”

This got me to wondering how vets feel about it. In Why Saying “Thank You for Your Service” Offends Some Veterans, James Kelly wrote: “As active-duty USMC, I have to admit that when people thank me for my service, I feel awkward and a little uncomfortable. But why? Where do veterans’ uneasiness come from?

“The first issue is that literally everyone says it. In fact, it is said so much that it has become, to many vets, an empty platitude, something you just say because it is politically correct.

“Some veterans believe that saying ‘thank you for your service’ is almost a way for civilians to massage away some of the guilt at not participating themselves.”

Rich (only name given), suggests “Thank You for Your Service” Can Actually Do More Harm Than Good.

“In her book Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of Our Soldiers (2015), Dr. Nancy Sherman discusses this conflicted relationship veterans have with the phrase and the people who casually offer it. As University Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and the Inaugural Distinguished Chair of Ethics at the United States Naval Academy, she is a philosopher who lectures worldwide on moral injury and military ethics.

“Dr. Sherman relates this to a greater problem that she describes as the ‘gaping disconnect between those who wear the uniform and those who don’t.’ She describes thank you for your service as a ‘token of gratitude or something that is meant to break the ice, although it often doesn’t accomplish that goal.’ Instead, it can at times come across as ‘glib,’ or just a ‘one-stop remark [a person] can dispense with’ to avoid any meaningful communication.”

See also Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service.

So what should you do instead?

The first article notes:

“When I asked veterans how civilians should thank them for their service, one answer proved to be the most common: ‘VOTE!’ Volunteer in your community, try and make a difference, and vote for what you believe is right. Honor the actions of veterans by ensuring that your voice is heard at the ballot box. Educate yourself on veterans’ issues. There are a number of fantastic organizations that help veterans with real issues but the most impactful is to use your right to make your voice heard.”

The second:

“If you want to thank a veteran, be considerate, be genuine, and be willing to listen or have a conversation. Dr. Sherman suggests simple alternatives that may actually contribute to repairing the military-civilian gap. If the service member appears to be willing and able to talk with you, you should invite a respectful conversation.

“‘I am grateful for your service. Where were you deployed? What was it like?’

“You might also ask: How is your transition back home so far? What is/was your job in the military? How is your family doing with your service? What do you want to do now that you’re back?”

I must say that I would personally be very uncomfortable with doing this latter thing, for reasons stated in the article. “It’s also true that many [vets] do have physical and emotional scars or moral wounds as a result of their service and are dealing (or not) with lingering feelings of guilt, shame, or helplessness, among others.”

So I’ll probably do what I’ve been doing all along, which is giving the knowing head nod, hoping that’s it’s adequate, at least for the moment.

disabledveteranI was reading this article in CharityWatch, Multiple Names + Exaggerated Programs = Two Related Charities, But Little Help for Vets or Cancer Relief. Ticked me off.

“Help the Vets (HTV) and Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation (BCOF) are two relatively new charities that share the same address and phone number, as well as the same family members in leadership positions, including president. But of more concern to donors should be another shared trait between HTV and BCOF — the likelihood that most donations will go towards paying for-profit, professional fundraisers rather than for helping veterans or cancer sufferers.”
Read the rest of this entry »

justice4vetsI’ve complained before about the often empty statement “support our troops,” as though sticking a flag decal was actually doing something. Here’s the story of a guy who did.

“The first Veterans Treatment Court was founded by the Honorable Robert Russell in Buffalo, New York in January, 2008, after he noticed an increase in the number of veterans appearing on his Drug Court and Mental Health Court dockets. Judge Russell saw firsthand the transformative power of military camaraderie when veterans on his staff assisted a veteran in one of his treatment courts, but also recognized that more could be done to ensure veterans were connected to benefits and treatment earned through military service.”

So what is a Veterans Treatment Court?
Read the rest of this entry »

As spring ended, I told the family that the one thing I really wanted to do during the summer was go to the Norman Rockwell Museum to see the work of cartoonist Roz Chast, having loved her material in the New Yorker magazine for decades. When my friend David Brickman reviewed the show, which had opened June 6, in July, it just intensified my desire.

Life being what it is, we didn’t make it to the Stockbridge, MA site until October 24, a mere two days before the close of the Chast exhibit, even though it’s only an hour away from Albany, NY. As it turned out, they were having a show outdoors featuring vintage cars; it cost $10 per carload, but the price would apply to going inside the museum, so no big deal.
roz chast
The linchpin of the Chast portion of the exhibit was her first graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (2014), about her aging parents, “who were in the same fifth grade class.” There was “her gentle, worrywart father, George” (d. 2007) and “her strong-willed mother, Elizabeth” (d. 2009), educators both, “who subscribed to The New Yorker and inspired” their only child’s “art and world view.” I could have read the whole book right there, on the walls, but I perused enough to know that it’ll be on my Christmas list.

The Daughter preferred some of her other work, such as What I Hate from A to Z, also shown in its entirety. The video about the Brooklyn-born artist was quite entertaining as well.

We’d been to the museum at least twice before, but there were works by Rockwell I had never seen before, notably Glen Canyon Dam; the texture of this painting is lost in the photograph, because, up close, this is a STUNNING piece.

Oddly, a section called Love a Vet: Honoring Our Veterans was already open; the website had given the dates as from November 7, 2015 through January 5, 2016. The playing card format of the works from various artists were very effective.

Finally, I checked out the vehicles outdoors, that were of many makes and models from the 1930s to the 1980s. I’m not a “car guy,” but the 1936 Rolls Royce was, as they say, sweet.

above-the-dreamless-dead-1I was reading about World War I trench poetry remembered in comics anthology, and it hit me how relatively little most Americans know about the first World War (1914-1918), the “War to end all wars,” as someone put it, terribly incorrectly.

And it’s not its remoteness in time Read the rest of this entry »

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