I recently saw a man wearing a t-shirt that said "Don't thank me" while at the VA hospital here in Indianapolis. It made me laugh a little.
Whenever someone new meets my husband and finds out he served in the Army, most of the time, they thank him for his service. (and sometimes I get a thank you as well - I'm not a veteran and don't pretend to be, but I'll take a thank you for putting up with the army's demands and craziness anytime -- that's another post entirely!)
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I can't say I 100% know why the man was wearing the shirt - but it made me think - I know that they, they being the veterans, hear it often and some days I'm sure it sounds hollow. It was their duty to serve. Being thanked a thousand times by strangers, after you suffered something traumatic, might sometimes be annoying.
Who knows? But guess what? I didn't thank him. I did smile, though... his shirt didn't tell me not to do that!
Since my husband and I have been back in the civilian world (aka: post-military life), I've felt a little lost and missing a lot of the little things that living on a military post, surrounded by other military members - our army family, offered.
Our friends were literally our family. Most of us lived hundreds of miles away from blood family. If your family lives in another state, you totally get how isolating that can feel, especially around holidays or birthdays.
If anyone was in crisis, there was someone there making meals or watching kids. I had invites to all of my friends' kids activities and we spent a lot of our free-time together, if not having "mandatory fun-time" with our respective units. Hugs were a typical greeting, even if you just met someone - and if you didn't greet them hello with a hug, you definitely left with one.