-by Kid Bucket-
I didn’t enlist for any patriotic reasons really, even though I told the recruiter it was the main reason. I knew I eventually needed college money and shucking oysters/smoking and drinking wasn’t cutting it, so I decided to enlist. I took a really long time to decide to join the Marine Corps, spending one whole
year month week day making my decision. Honestly, I wouldn’t take it back even though I have said one million times that I would in a heartbeat (those were mostly in times of anger and frustration).
I spent most of my time in the service drinking in Okinawa and teaching people how to shoot for when they went to the various warzones, never actually going myself. I was somewhat happy about that but I also felt like I was missing something, which is a feeling that most current service members feel if they have not deployed to a combat zone. That time in my life has come and gone though, and I take my experiences and go about my way, but I will always feel weird about people telling me “Thank you for your service”. Not because I am not proud of what I did, but because there is no proper response to that offer of thanks. I usually stammer out a “thank you” or something half hearted like that. It used to bother me that I never knew what to say, until I came to the realization that they aren’t saying thank you for me: most of them are saying it for themselves. It’s the verbal equivalent of a yellow ribbon on a car or a t-shirt with “Support the Troops” photoshopped onto a Bud Light logo and handed out at a country music festival.
I am not bitter at those who have ribbons or wear the t-shirts; most of those people are doing what they think is real support. They aren’t as bad as the Republican elected officials who invoke the images of the troops and then tell veterans to go fuck themselves when issues such as veterans’ benefits and money that could go to mental help for combat veterans come up (biggest example: John McCain voting against the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill). Those people are pieces of shit and their constituents who vote for them because they saw the American flag in the campaign videos aren’t much better. But hey, as long as women can’t get abortions and gays can’t get married then the veterans with PTSD can deal with it by prayer like a good god-fearin’ American should.
If you want to support the troops, send them stuff they need. Don’t send them a box full of copies of Pinheads and Patriots; send them stuff that might actually help them be a little happier. Some suggestions: food, some drink mixes, porn, playing cards, some actual books, porn, magazines, porn. I’m sure they would be much happier with those things than books that vilify their Commander-in-Chief.
Just remember, Veterans Day isn’t really for the veterans. It’s for everyone else, and that’s okay.
Also, please check out this piece by a vet named Matt Ufford; it is something that every person should read.