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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

What do you say to honor a veteran?

As we celebrate Veteran’s Day 2013, Army vet Chris Marvin is challenging me to rethink my standard response to meeting those who served in our military.

I had no idea that “Thank you for your service” made some vets feel uncomfortable or even unworthy. While it may be uncomfortable to have the discussion, I think it’s important civilians find a way to show gratitude without causing pain or stress.

And let me throw this in: should “Thank you for your service” be reserved to those who were drafted, many against their will? It strikes me that some of the discomfort comes from people who volunteered and knew exactly what they were signing up for.

If you chose to join, were trained and were paid to it, does that deserve the same level of appreciation as 18- year-olds who “lost” the lottery and were sent halfway across the globe against their will?

I’d really like to hear from the vets out there to help us civvies get this right.


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