Troops Feel More Pity Than Respect

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/troops-feel-more-pity-than-respect/2011/10/25/gIQANPbYLN_story.html

 

I came across this article and it stopped me in my tracks.  It was obvious from the get-go that the timing of such an article could only be directly linked to Veterans Day.  A holiday which many of us may think little about.  We "support the troops" but what does that really mean?

 

As someone who is fortunate enough to work at a residential treatment facility for homeless Veterans, I have a faint understanding of what it is these men and women experience.  When I share with other professionals and friends what it is I do, I often receive mixed emotions in response.  Some are in awe that these individuals are brave enough to ask for help.  Many are saddened that there is a need for such a facility.  Some show frustration and, as the article nicely puts it, pity that those who served our country now face struggle.

 

Is pity a form of support?  In my opinion, no.  It is important to remember that those who served more than likely chose to serve (there was no draft for the post 9-11 conflicts), and therefore they are not victims asking for our pity.  I believe the best thing we can provide for these individuals is a simple thank you.  

 

Thank you for your service is easily the best response one can give to someone who indicates either verbally, through their uniform, or another means, that they have served.

 

Next time you come across a veteran or current active duty service member, try to remember to not take pity on them, but instead thank them for the sacrifices they have made.  And, if you, the person reading this are a veteran or active duty service member: thank you for your service!