11/11/2014 by syrbal-labrys
I don’t get out much. Part of that is intentional. But I do go out on errands, and often now with my youngest son, the returned Afghan war veteran. All of us here are veterans. All of us have been “thanked” for our service. Not to sound ungrateful, but I have a rant about that, ok? Even if it isn’t ok, really. Some folks DO mean it sincerely and I take those thanks as they come; but a lot of folks are just mouthing the current platitude and it pisses me the fuck OFF.
What the fuck does it mean, really, to “thank” us?
Does it repair the busted bodies? Does it banish the PTSD? Does it mend broken marriages and bring suicides back to life? Does it house the homeless veterans? Does it find jobs for my two disabled veteran sons? No, it fucking doesn’t.
I’m kind of glad I am not the only one annoyed at being offered “thanks” as if that is actually something real. The only time I actually responded to a “thanks for your service” with more than a nod and fast turn-away, it turned kind of ugly. I said to my thanker, “Well, you know, none of us did it for thanks. We did it for a job, for each other, and for promises made by the government. We wanted a future, an education, medical care, a home loan, and such. We’d all just like promises made to us KEPT.”
Well, thanks got turned on its head then. I got lectured about my “expectations of free hand outs.” I got told I was lucky to not be spit upon like Viet Nam vets. Wow. Yeah, being a Viet Nam Era veteran, that one really pissed me off. So we veterans, many of us who joined because there WERE no jobs in the civilian world, should just be happy to not be spit upon for doing our nations too often dirty work? Work that military folks are ordered to do by civilians — Congress-critters and Presidents?
How about that, veterans ARE the new scapegoats for society? They put their bodies and minds at risk for a paycheck and to work for the government and now get told they should be grateful to be merely thanked? It actually reminds me of my experiences as a woman, as a rape survivor — being told I should be grateful I wasn’t “hurt” — “no, honey, REALLY hurt, like killed.” I should be glad I didn’t get pregnant or diseased. I should stop bitching about what trauma was like and just be glad it wasn’t worse. THAT is what I feel when I hear my husband or sons (or myself) being “thanked” — as if it fixes what ALL of us gave up, lost, or had taken from us by our service. As if I should just be glad to be inconveniently alive and shut the fuck up about any neediness resultant from trauma in service. And women vets? Oh, all us bitches need to stop crying about rape, btw — that shit is our fault for having the “equipment”, after all.
None of us should expect medical care that does something real, or jobs, or security for our families even is we were broken in service. Being “thanked” should make us happy? Cause, right, we are all just Uncle Sam’s “bitches” and ought to stay in our “place”. Somehow, you know, as ungrateful and bitchy as this makes me? That just fucking isn’t working for me.