A Better Way to Thank Veterans

Authored by David Sutherland via InsideSources.com,

While a nice sentiment, let’s change the conversation from “thank you for your service” to something more meaningful. The discussion may take less time than an elevator ride...

Serving in the military was one of the highlights of my life. When well-intentioned civilians thank me for my service, it falls on me to help them understand why.

I’ve begun responding to those who thank me by saying, “You’re welcome. Would you like to hear about it?”

I love speaking about those with whom I served. Our veterans are phenomenal - natural leaders who didn’t just learn military values but lived them.

I served for 29 years and commanded thousands of young leaders in and out of combat. I watched our troops carry out remarkable feats of bravery and perform selfless acts of courage. They demonstrate all the qualities one could want in the toughest of situations - smarts, guts and compassion.

Now these men and women have returned home and are contributing to their communities. So when people accept my offer to hear more, I tell them stories of valor, courage and commitment. Here are just a few:

...Jennifer Madden was a specialist in the Army who deployed to Afghanistan as a teenager. When she returned, this high-performer fought a long journey with unemployment and homelessness to achieve independence and self-reliance. Jenn bought her first home in 2014, earned her degree as a licensed practical nurse, and now shares her story of hope as a psychiatric nurse specializing in drug and alcohol rehabilitation at a Veterans Administration hospital in Pennsylvania.

 

...Sgt. Sean Rohe, U.S. Army (retired), was the oldest in his basic training camp, joining the Army at 34. He deployed to Afghanistan at age 36 and spent more than two years there mentoring the “kids” in his unit who often outranked him, called him “grandpa” and yet turned to him for advice and leadership. Now he serves as the face of the United States at the National Gallery of Art, where he shares his love of art with global visitors daily, a job that demands respect and integrity.

 

...I would not be here without my Personal Security Detachment, the unit that protects its commanders. Tommy Haire, a sergeant in my PSD in Iraq, experienced the vileness of war. When a key member of our team, Staff Sgt. Donnie D. Dixon, was killed in action, Haire helped us persevere through the blackness that followed. After leaving the Army, Haire decided to give back to other veterans and worked with those who were disabled and homeless. He now puts his master’s degree in service to his country as a contracts administrator at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The next time you thank a veteran for his or her service, consider this. Ask them to tell you about it - and then let them talk. Chances are, they will selflessly speak about those with whom they served. It will go a long way to bridge a civil-military divide. You’ll learn not just what our veterans are, but who they are.

* * *

Retired U.S. Army Colonel David Sutherland is Chairman of Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services. He commanded the U.S. combat Brigade in Diyala Province, Iraq (2006-2007) and served as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2009-2012).

Comments

Juliette Sat, 11/11/2017 - 17:02 Permalink

Fuck the veterans! To hell with them! They did and do not fight our wars nor in our interest! They fight the wars of the elite, big finance, big oil, the MIC and the Jews (also known as the "deep state" today) and Israel only. Even WWI and II did not serve any lofty noble goals. They were Jewish wars against the finest ond highest culture on planet, the Germans!

Endgame Napoleon NoDecaf Sun, 11/12/2017 - 11:38 Permalink

[Almost] all of the military people I have worked with were hardworking and funny. They were not the ones engaging in all of the bullying, back-watching absenteeism or office intrigue. But since employers love cliquish absenteeism and office bully gangs more than things like everyday/all-day attendance, hard work, account generation and account retention, it is not surprising that some veterans end up homeless. They need to slack off more when at work and skip out on work more, blaming it on their babies, and then maybe, babyvacationing managers will like them as much as they like the frequently absentee, mom-worker gangs. Gotta play the game at hand.

In reply to by NoDecaf

BigJim Professorlocknload Sat, 11/11/2017 - 18:51 Permalink

No one critical of people who join Western militaries today does so because they think the volunteers lack courage. Or discipline. Or a hundred other virtues. What we're critical of is the fact that when you join the military, you are obliged to do as you're told. And if you're told to go and invade some other country, well... off you go! If anyone resists your aggression you kill them.And the fact is, over the the last century, the US military has - with the exception of WWII, when the US was actually attacked - been primarily involved in wars of aggression. So when you join up, you're either unaware of this - ie, ignorant - or, aware: ie, a psychopath.Ignorant or psychopath. Most of us don't wish to be either, and most of us don't have a great deal of respect for either. Pity for the former, perhaps, and understanding that when you're young TPTB can take advantage of your naivete and years of statist brainwashing.

In reply to by Professorlocknload

NCIzzy Juliette Sat, 11/11/2017 - 19:01 Permalink

let's not blame people for being brainwashed. but let's also not aid and abet the furtherance of this brainwashing with ridiculous virtue signalling that hides the horrors of the wars they were duped or manipulated into being cannon fodder for."Military men are "dumb, stupid animals to be used" as pawns for foreign policy." - 'Esteemed' advisor to basically all modern age presidents, Henry Kissinger

In reply to by Juliette

Yog Soggoth Juliette Sat, 11/11/2017 - 21:21 Permalink

Really? I have spent valuable time with military veterans from around the world by asking them pertinent questions. I am trying to get up the money to get back the stolen grave of a purple hearted Vietnam soldier.  They used to fake the D.O.B. on anyone they could in that war. You are basically saying this garbage to the kids of the past, as though some of them are not still alive. Now you come out and preach like you were there, man!  You hate those 70 year old former kids. My stepfather was 15/16 years old when he voluntarily enlisted. His family had a history of physical abuse which led him to this decision. he was a good Dad. I would like to spit some beechwood in your left eye, and then shoot you in the other eye with a 1945 navy flare gun for fun you piece of crap.

In reply to by Juliette

pelican Juliette Sun, 11/12/2017 - 10:22 Permalink

I appreciate your honesty.  As a veteran I know we are pieces of trash in most people's mind.  After 911, I spent around eight years working for the federal government and military and when I needed help from the same, it turned my back on me.  The federal government through its stupid and short-sighted decisions destroyed me fiancially. All this for honorable service.The economy, government and most americans can go to hell and I wouldn't lift a finger to help anyone because I just don't care anymore.    

In reply to by Juliette

MisterMousePotato Manthong Sat, 11/11/2017 - 19:59 Permalink

If one is going to defend their service as fighting for Truth, Justice, and The American Way, it seems that one should not threaten to commit some (apparently) unspeakable act of violence on someone exercising his right to express an opinion that you disagree with.Especially when it is a subject upon which reasonable minds might disagree.

In reply to by Manthong

BigJim Manthong Sat, 11/11/2017 - 18:55 Permalink

     Juliette Nov 11, 2017 4:55 PM       “Fuck the veterans! They did and do not fight our wars nor in our interest!”        ..PRAY TO GOD YOU NEVER RUN INTO ME IN A DARK ALLEY. Why? Do you attack random strangers?So, Manthong, what war did you fight in, and how was it in your fellow citizens' interest? Curious minds want to know.You know, maybe you joined up thinking you were going to fight for your country. But unless you were involved in WWII.... I'm afraid you were duped.

In reply to by Manthong