When a military service member is thanked for their service, some say it can lead to an awkward moment. The military member or veteran says, “you’re welcome,” but it isn’t always an organic response. While it is nice to be recognized and thanked, perhaps it isn’t commonplace enough to make it not lead to an awkward exchange.
Oddly enough, a resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of September by Representative Jack Bergman (R-Michigan-01) and J. Luis Correa (D-California-46). The resolution introduced the idea of replacing “thank you for your service” with “thank you for our freedom.”
Per the press release about the resolution Representative Bergman stated, “As a Nation, we have an obligation to support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who risk their lives to protect the freedom of the American people, and our allies. Because of their service, we as Americans continue to live in a free Nation with the opportunity to prosper. This resolution will help ensure those of us blessed to call America home understand the personal importance of our servicemen and women’s sacrifice for our Nation.” Representative Correa stated, “Every servicemember deserves our respect and gratitude. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to express our thanks and honor the brave men and women who have and continue to put their lives on the line for our country.”
Will this verbal change make a difference?
Service members say no. In fact, many felt it made the thanks more awkward – as they didn’t single-handedly save the world with the suit made of Iron or a vibranium alloy shield. It “feels empty” said another service member about the change.
Zac Baddorf, executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism told Task & Purpose that it was a “pat on the head.”
Saying thank you is appreciated. It is kind. It doesn’t provide tangible programming and support that the military branches could use. There are barracks that are filled with mold and need to be demolished. What about the maintenance of military aircraft for the safety of service members? The programming for military family services has gradually been cut through the service branches leading to less support for those families that are being thanked. There is a global lack of childcare spots for military children on base, and off-base childcare costs limit the ability of military spouses to take work outside of the home. Addressing these challenges and concerns with tangible answers are ways Congress can say thank you.
What do you think?