How We Should Remember Our Veterans

Thank You Veterans written on American flagVeteran’s Day is now here and I’m reminded about my own tour of service in the U.S. Army, way back in the early 80s. The country had recently exited the Vietnam War and folks were trying to heal from that trauma. Unfortunately, the U.S. military suffered, insofar as its reputation was concerned.

I remember back, when I was a kid, how people treated my dad, an Army officer who served in both the Korean War and World War 2, as an Artillery specialist with the 24th Infantry Division. Whenever we were making a reservation, in order to go out to eat, my mother would always make sure to specify that the reservation was in the name of Major Henry Brennan. This always got us one of the better tables and we were treated with a certain amount of respect by the staff.

I recalled this the day that I wore my full dress uniform and went out to the see a movie (this was in New York City). I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt when I was met with the “angry” stares of those I passed in the street. As far as they were concerned, I was the “enemy”, a “baby-killer” drug addict from ‘Nam. I was just 19 years old and had never been to war. But I knew what the deal was. I never wore my uniform, out in the public like that, ever again.

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I mention this because, these days, whenever I mention to clients or anyone else that I was in the military, I’m told the standard line for these times; “Thank you for your service”. It’s been a long time coming. Too bad that disappointed 19 year old never heard that. Since I worked in the Medical Corps., I had the opportunity to encounter the broken and maimed remnants of war, while assigned to various military hospitals. This is what war’s all about. Not the banners and parades. And not the “preferred seating” in a restaurant. When I witnessed the sacrifices, on the hospital ward, I understood why my dad never talked about his tours in combat. He didn’t even want me to call him “sir” – just “dad”.

So now when I hear those currently trendy (and quite appropriate) lines; “Thank you for your service”, I say “Thank you”. But somewhere, in the recesses of my thoughts, I say to myself; “I hope it always will be this way, without some sad public perceptions to change it back to what that 19 year old experienced back in 1979.

You may want to consider this when you think about the men and woman who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Just sayin’.

Posted on November 11, 2017 by in Personal Finance

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