Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Meaningless phrases

I probably managed to annoy a few people on Facebook this morning. A friend shared a meme that asks the reader how often they thank veterans for their service. My answer? Never.

"Thank you for your service" has to be the most annoying phrase since "Have a nice day." I am a veteran (Vietnam era) and it irritates the hell out of me. It's totally vacuous, a mental sneeze. I'm guessing maybe one in a thousand people actually mean it, if that, but everyone spews it. What exactly are you thanking people for? I was a medical records clerk. Are you grateful I mastered the alphabet and was willing to risk paper cuts? Or do the thanks only apply to combat vets willing to shoot peasants in shit hole countries?

Do you seriously believe that people who served during the Vietnam conflict (one of the many wars the U.S. has managed to lose in the past 60 years) prevented the Viet Cong from invading Santa Monica or Big Sur? Over 47,000 U.S. troops died in Vietnam and for what? I'm reminded every time I shop for clothes that the Vietnamese won that one*; I have no doubt that if the U.S. ever admits all we're doing in other parts of the world is supporting companies like Boeing and Lockheed and stops shooting and/or bombing people unlucky enough to be Muslim that we'll start seeing cheap shit labeled "Made in Afghanistan" or "Made in Somalia" on the shelves at Dollar General. The Chinese are already moving sweat shops out of China into poverty-stricken regions in Africa. For that matter, Ivanka Trump had (probably still has) a shoe factory in Ethiopia, a country where the U.S. has targeted terrorist organizations like al-Shabaab. The First Daughter didn't even wait for the conflicts to end before going in search of people desperate for work.

Bottom line: Want to thank a veteran for their "service," which, as the accompanying meme makes clear isn't service at all but an endorsement of endless war? Then do something concrete. Lobby your congress critters to improve funding to the Veterans Administration. Volunteer at veterans' care facilities. Thank people through deeds not platitudes. And never ever vote Republican.

*Whenever I notice the Made in Vietnam label on heavy winter jackets or other cold weather gear, I wonder what the workers sweating in Vietnam's heat and humidity think of the parkas they're attaching fake fur to. 


  1. American troops have not fought for American freedom since WWII. But the military sure eats a lot of public money.

  2. I joined the Air Force when I was 18 so I could get out of Pennsylvania in the early 70s. No thought of service to the country, I just didn’t want to mine coal or work in a power plant for the next 50 years. They sent me to the UP, I learned computers and went to college.. after I roll my eyes I just tell them “I got more out of it than the country did”

  3. We were flown back from Vietnam on Quantas air line. When we arrived at LAX we were in fatigues and were met with vehemence by some of the young people at the airport. One girl asked 'How many babies did you kill.'
    Having seen the carnage of war and survived I was bitter. In retrospect it was for nothing:
    Good God you'all
    What is it good for?
    Absolutely nothing.

    We were pawns in a political game. There is a genome in young human males the accept war and carnage. It is part of who we are; and allows us to be used and be manipulated in the name of patriotism.

    I spent 22 years in the military - and regret it.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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