Larry David just did an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm titled Thank You For Your Service. He touched on something that has bothered me for a while now. First of all, I’m a vet. I served honorably in the US Marine Corps during wartime, earned a couple of ribbons and medals, and got an honorable discharge. I have people thank me for my service all the time and though it’s appreciated, it’s a little on the embarrassing side. It was a job, I signed up for it, did the best I could, and definitely got some benefit out of it. I don’t thank random doctors “Thank you for healing people” or lawyers “Thank you for defending people” or builders “Thank you for building things” or factory workers “Thank you for making things” or city workers “Thank you for keeping the sewage lines flowing” – I probably should, but usually don’t. None of us do. In fact, I don’t remember a single person ever thanking me for my service before 9-11. I also don’t remember so many American flags flying around mindlessly before 9-11 and I don’t remember people giving a shit about whether athletes or anyone else stood during the National Antherm. In fact, I don’t remember any of this patriotic bullshit going on before. And, I think it is bullshit. Want to be a patriot? Put your flags and your lip service and your irate anger over civilians worshipping the country away. Patriots put their lives where there mouths are. Patriots don’t need to be thanked. Patriots live the ideals of their nation.
“We hold these truths to be self evident – that all men are created equal.”
“Inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
I could go on, but do I need to? There are veterans living on the streets – some homeless, many suffering from PTSD and alcohol or drug abuse. We have a country that clearly judges people differently based on the color of their skin or their economic caste. We have a financial dictatorship which enslaves people and prevents them from living as they go from work to sleep and sleep to work. We have a military which has been waging war to make oil companies and arms manufacturers wealthy while American infrastructure, schools, and social services have gone to shit. We have a fucked system run by billionaires who are using the trappings of patriotism to make themselves richer while the blood of our patriots is spilled in Niger, Afghanstan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. None of these wars have made the lives of regular Americans better. They have created enemies, they have killed innocents, and they have sacrificed our patriotic youth to enrich these disgusting creatures who sit at the top of the American financial system.
Do you want to thank our veterans for their service? Think of a better way than with empty words that enrich heartless corporations which cannot and will not ever understand what the word patriot means.