I entered the Navy as a nuke officer in 1974; that time when the military was very much NOT respected by the clever class–the common attitude was that only losers or psychos were in the military. Even the mother of a good friend asked me how I could join “the enemy.”
It wasn’t the nicest of times.
Fast forward to the present. Now most libs–not all, but most–hide their disdain for us, if for no other reason than that some push-back occurred. Of course, the end of the draft helped a lot–let’s face it: what would the response be if the slackers and adolescent 20-somethings faced a requirement to get through boot camp…it’s would not be pretty. We’re a true professional military now; some good things about that, but some bad as well. I won’t bore you with a discourse on the need for the citizen soldier–it’s the mainstay of a free people, but let that go for another day.
What this is about is the ubiquitous “Thank you for your service,”…on Veterans Day, it’s becomes nearly universal. I know folks mean well by it, but frankly I take it as trivial at best (rather like “Have a nice day”) and patronizing at worst.
On Veterans Day we get to see the public shows–cliches spoken and poses struck, usually by folks who’ve never carried the arms nor sworn the oath. It’s a pretty image and has some worth if it drives some consideration of those who uphold our Constitution. But in truth, the only respect we crave is the respect of our brothers in arms–we few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
Kipling had it right,
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!