Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What We Should Do Is Give Thanks

If you haven’t read the article, you soon will.  It’s making waves and in the short time after I saw it posted on Facebook, the page that had posted it had over 40 comments and counting.

The piece is simple.  A young college student doesn’t believe that military service members and their families deserve the military discounts that so many retailers offer. Her reasoning may have been sound, but no one will ever know because her writing came across so offensively to so many that it was hard to hear what her basis truly was through the belittling of the sacrifices made by military service members and their families.

She is quoted as having said that simply seeing that a retailer offers such a discount sends a wave of “indignation” through her. She says it creates a hierarchy within our society that discredits others (such as middle school counselors) for the “service” they provide.  She also advocates the broadening of the definition of service to anyone who provides a service or product for others.

Let’s ignore her word choice, let’s pretend that her definition of “service” wouldn't literally include anyone, seeing as anyone who has a job is providing a service to someone, even if it’s just their employer.  Let’s ignore her belief that everyone should receive a discount for simply having a job, which by definition requires retailers to lower their prices 10% which would be easier than continuously ringing up a 10% discount that applies to anyone with a pulse.  I’ll even encourage you to over look her use of the all too common attitude of “they signed up for it.” Forgive her obvious belief that supporting the military means we support war in general. Let’s look at the large factor she is over looking:

Our military services members do not just have a dangerous job.  They don’t just make sacrifices.  They lay their life on the line.  They sign a contract that says they will defend this nation and the freedoms not just of the US citizens that live within it, but any person anywhere in the world who may need assistance.  They sign that contract with the understanding that the very nature of that commitment means they must be willing to pay with their own life if necessary.  But some don’t, instead they pay with individual body parts, with the loss of their brothers in arms while giving up the ability to grieve because there is no time for that in war.  They pay with their family life, and sometimes with the loss of their family all together.  And many, come home physically whole, but have paid with their emotional stability and soul.

It takes a fair amount of persistent effort to offend me, I can take just about anything with a grain of salt, but her article offended me.  You see, three years ago, my husband come home with PTSD and he paid the price that she is so ready to announce as just the price of doing business.  Per her belief, my husband doesn’t deserve to be thanked by our society through military discounts because he volunteer for a dangerous job, so it’s his own fault.  By her logic, my own heartache and pain associated with waking up everyday unable to help the man I love, unable to share his pain, and unable to lessen it, is the price I pay for having fallen in love with a Marine and marrying him.  I do not feel I need or deserve pity or even a 10% discount, but I take offense at the notion that that my husbands sacrifice can be so easily dismissed as simply “an individuals willingness to volunteer for one job instead of another.”

Businesses are not offering these discounts because they want the world to know that they support war.  Nor are they expressing that no one else is worthy of any recognition.  They are simply trying to say “thank you” in the only way they know how.  The same way others donate to Fisher House, or even stop to shake my husbands hand when he is in uniform.  And isn’t the job he does a job that deserves thanks?

He absolutely did volunteer to join the military, he did “insist” on having that dangerous job.  But I have to wonder, if he hadn’t, is she the person who was going to fill his billet? Our military is 100% voluntary, and I, for one, thank my lucky stars each day for every service member, past or present, who was willing to risk everything so that I don’t have to.  I am so thankful to live in a country where so many are so willing to sacrifice everything for people they don’t know, many of whom will never give that sacrifice a second thought, many of whom, like this young lady, not only don’t give it a second thought, but do not appreciate it at all.

She has every right to her opinions.  And my husbands felt so strongly that people like her should have that right, and the write to express them, and her freedom of press, that he was willing to fracture his soul to give it to her.  And so many others gladly gave their lives, and I feel that that is something we very much so should be thankful for.


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