When a military service member is thanked for their service, some say it can lead to an awkward moment. The military member or veteran says, “you’re welcome,” but it isn’t always an organic response. While it is nice to be recognized and thanked, perhaps it isn’t commonplace enough to make it not lead to an awkward exchange.
Oddly enough, a resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of September by Representative Jack Bergman (R-Michigan-01) and J. Luis Correa (D-California-46). The resolution introduced the idea of replacing “thank you for your service” with “thank you for our freedom.”
Per the press release about the resolution Representative Bergman stated, “As a Nation, we have an obligation to support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who risk their lives to protect the freedom of the American people, and our allies. Because of their service, we as Americans continue to live in a free Nation with the opportunity to prosper. This resolution will help ensure those of us blessed to call America home understand the personal importance of our servicemen and women’s sacrifice for our Nation.” Representative Correa stated, “Every servicemember deserves our respect and gratitude. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to express our thanks and honor the brave men and women who have and continue to put their lives on the line for our country.”
Will this verbal change make a difference?
Service members say no. In fact, many felt it made the thanks more awkward – as they didn’t single-handedly save the world with the suit made of Iron or a vibranium alloy shield. It “feels empty” said another service member about the change.
Zac Baddorf, executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism told Task & Purpose that it was a “pat on the head.”
Saying thank you is appreciated. It is kind. It doesn’t provide tangible programming and support that the military branches could use. There are barracks that are filled with mold and need to be demolished. What about the maintenance of military aircraft for the safety of service members? The programming for military family services has gradually been cut through the service branches leading to less support for those families that are being thanked. There is a global lack of childcare spots for military children on base, and off-base childcare costs limit the ability of military spouses to take work outside of the home. Addressing these challenges and concerns with tangible answers are ways Congress can say thank you.
What do you think?
Sharon Meidell says
I think it is a wonderful idea, but I am not in the military. It is a good start, but perhaps we need the opinion of many more military people and find out what they do want.
Mara L Mckinley says
My husband is an honorable discharged veteran. Had he not got hurt he would have stayed in the service.
He has mentioned serval time. Fly your flag high and proud. Wouldn’t it be nice to give veryans a large flag and pole.
Norman Kenneth Welch says
As a veteran that was treated like the enemy for last 50 years, I really appreciate being thanked for my service.
Mathew Collins says
I believe “Thank you for your service” is a better option. “Thank you for our freedom” seems to super hero like and makes a response even harder
I think “Thank you for your service” is quite alright with me. I think using the word freedom has been used to much by the media and our sacred and most illustrious politicians as a punch line.
Dan Rhodes says
I am sorry if a handful of service members find it “awkward” to respond to a time honored greeting that recognizes their service and sacrifice, but really? Legislate how I should word my gratitude that comes from the heart. Really?
As Mr. Zac Baddorf, pointed out, if Congress wants to say thank you through legislation, do something to get the commissary shelves filled with the items we need at a price we can afford. I don’t appreciate congressional members taking it upon themselves to arbitrarily dictate through legislation how and via what verbage I am to use to thank my brother in arms. Legislate all you want, Congressman, but I will NOT change the way I choose to honor my fellow veteran. As Jack Nickelson said in ‘A Few Good Men, “pick up a rifle and stand a post” before you legislate how to honor a veteran.
The act of one service member thanking another is personal and should be reserved for those who actually served and understand the full impact of the sacrifices military members make every day. Our veterans returning from Vietnam didn’t get the hero’s welcome they deserved, thus we veteran’s developed our own way of honoring those who came home with “Welcome home”. This was not legislated by Congress, but simply service members recognizing a need and doing something about. Something average citizens have done throughout history. We don’t need Congress to legislate our need to recognize our service men and women. We do it on our own terms.
I am 100% against Congress using their platform to do so little to honor our veterans in the hopes to win some kind of favor with their constituents. Go back to the drawing board and reach out to those you intended to honor and find out what really matters to them.