Don't Thank Me For My Service Today - And Response (6)

Monday, May 27, 2013

I was the grocery store earlier today.  Today, being Memorial Day, it seemed fitting to wear my U.S. Navy T-shirt, a way to say thanks to my fellow sailors who have left this life and are no longer with us. 

I was in the bakery section, dutifully picking up a loaf of fresh italian bread that my wife had requested to go with our dinner tonight.  A young woman came up to me and said "I assume you are or were in the Navy?  Thanks for your service."  I know the young woman meant no malice, and I did appreciate what she said.  But today is not my day, nor any other veteran's day who is still considered among the living.  Today is the day we slow down and remember, honor, cry for, and miss, our troops who are no longer with us.  Who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Who cashed in that blank check they wrote to Uncle Sam.  And so, as gently and as kindly as possible, I told the young woman "Thank you, but today is not my day.  Today is not Veteran's Day.  Today is Memorial Day.  So if you want to tell anyone thank you for their service, you should go to the National Cemetery and say thank you.  Today is their day."

I know it can be confusing, what with Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, D-Day, Veteran's Day, and Pearl Harbor Day.  Yet all of these days have very special meanings, heartbreaking stories, and very different aspects as to what they all mean.  We as Americans need to know, remember, and respect those differences, as well as pass onto the younger generations what each of these days signifies.  

So to all of my fellow brothers and sisters in arms, who are not here with us anymore, you are always in our hearts.  We love you, and we miss you.  But most of all, we thank you.

Adam Buchannon 

* * * 

Thank you, Mr. Buchannon.  You couldn’t have expressed the meaning of the holiday any better. 

We are all appreciative of the service and sacrifice of our current military and our veterans, but today definitely has a distinctive and solemn meaning. 

Bob Linehart    

* * * 

I like to think my parents raised me properly. One of the important things they imprinted upon me was sometimes it's just better to say "thank you."  When complimented on a new hair-cut, don't tell them it's three-weeks old, just say "thank you." "What, this old dress" sounds like you're fishing for compliments so just say "thank you." Yes, there are plenty of individuals who have difficulty accepting a simple compliment and gratitude. 

The thread of this idea should strike home to this article's writer and respondent. Just say "thank you." 

A decade ago I was awaiting seating at the Northgate Red Lobster standing next to an elderly couple. The gentleman was wearing a U.S.S. North Carolina cap. My father was in the US Navy and though he was an aviator and didn't serve on a battleship I daily thank my father in my mind for his dedication to his family and his military service. It's the only way I can thank him these days. 

It was unavoidable, being in such close proximity, not to overhear portions of their conversation and it was obvious to me it was their anniversary. Thinking of my father and so many others who deserve gratitude and recognition, solicited or not, I surreptitiously paid for that couple's meal. It wasn't Memorial Day or Veteran's Day, it was just a Saturday. 

Leaving the restaurant shortly before they finished their meal I approached their table. They hadn't asked for their check so they had no idea their meal had been paid for already. When I asked if they had enjoyed their meal the wife said their dinner was excellent. I turned directly to the veteran, held out my hand out and he shook it. I said "My father was a Navy man and I just wanted to thank you for your service." 

Obviously unaccustomed to this type of greeting he simply said "thank you." But the misty eyes and beaming smile of his wife spoke volumes of pride for her betrothed of many years. Her pride must have doubled when they discovered their meal was already taken care of. 

While some may think it necessary to educate unsolicited gratitude from others, perhaps it would be wise to smile and just say "thank you." 

David Fihn, Sr. 

* * * 

I'm sorry that some fail to recognize and understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.  

Thanking a service member for their service who is alive and kicking, is like thanking a police officer for their service on the annual day of remembering fallen officers.  While the average civilian might see it as a kind thing to do, those who have worn a uniform see it almost as an insult. 

Quite simply, if you have never worn the uniform, then you won't understand the deep meaning and significance, not to mention differences of Memorial Day vs. Veteran's Day. 

Perhaps Mr. Fihn should learn and respect the difference.  Some don't like to be thanked for something they've not done.  Memorial Day is for those who died for their country.  

Jan Carlson 

* * * 

I, myself, abhor being patronized. Quite simply, I do know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Still, I find it amazing that anyone would ever be insulted from a misplaced thank you, but I suppose anything is possible.  

Using this reasoning, I will try to remember to stay away from my uncle's grave on Veterans Day, lest I make somebody else angry.  

Chris Rice
Chattanooga 

* * * 

What I find so incredibly insulting are Mr. Fihn's and Mr. Rice's misguided opinions... they are patronizing and insulting.  

Mr. Buchannon didn't say he felt insulted or unappreciative for being thanked on Memorial Day.  If you bother to actually read the article that's perfectly clear.  He simply stated he didn't feel comfortable being thanked for his service on Memorial Day... as Memorial Day is a day reserved to remember and honor veterans who have died, and obviously Mr. Buchannon is very much alive.  

Mr. Buchannon's article not only illustrates the differences between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, it's also his way of doing what he can to honor his "brothers and sisters in arms who are no longer with us." 

And it seems Mr. Fihn and Mr. Rice decided their way of honoring Memorial Day was to insult a veteran.  

Mariah Smith 

* * * 

Kudos to Mariah Smith for her well spoken letter. Respect may be defined as knowing exactly what, and to whom, you are attempting to impart respect. Memorial Day was set aside for the fallen, any other day, and particularly Veterans Day, is for those who have served. 

Mr. Buchannon knows how to show his respect. Thank you for your service and respect, sir. 

Harry Uffalussy



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