Authored by William Robert Barber
There has sprouted up a stylish must-do, a societal nicety, a gesture that seems to beget other gestures of the identical meaningfulness, and frankly, juxtaposed with a bit of simpatico I do understand the why fore. Nevertheless, I take issue with its explicit and implicit implications.
Firstly, I best reveal the irritant: “Thank you for your service…” are the words uttered as they reach out either by hand or sentiment to congratulate the service member or former member. Normally, such a thank is extended from those fellow citizens that have not (for whatever reason) served in the armed forces.
Surely, by now the reader is befuddled by my peeve and a bit perplexed as to why. The answer is quite direct: Undertaking service to my country is nothing for my fellow citizens to thank me for. Service is an obligatory of citizenship and a common virtue that does not warrant adulation. Certainly, I am not suggesting that a citizen of this country must or even should serve in the armed forces — not at all; I am suggesting that if my fellow citizens believe that common virtue is extra-ordinary and deserves special attention, then the common denomination of virtue is directly abated.
I served the interest of my nation state in times of peace as well as war; I am proud to be a United States Marine. Withstanding, I am just as proud of those fellow citizens — whether they served in the armed forces or not — that pay their taxes, vote, harmoniously keep their families together, recognize and maintain their fidelity to community, obey the laws, and purposefully strive to strengthen the wherewithal of not only American values but also note their obligation to express responsibility for humankind.
This nation functions by fields and networks of symbiosis; one feeds upon and relies upon the other. Respective of the forces of counter, of the anti, and the converse we are all tied together in one effort. We are bound together as dependants and interdependent. Each individual is important to the whole. Indeed it is the idea of an individual’s value the make us so exceptional a nation.
Soldiers serve and like the police, fire, and many, many, other professions that are so very critical even dangerous they make their contribution. But I think, in the interest of every citizen, that the common denomination of citizenship should be extraordinarily high.
For me, my service was an obligation and a privilege; my countrymen owe me absolutely nothing, not even a thank you. I owe my country everything…for me it is an honor to call myself an American.