Veterans appreciate being appreciated

TumwaterJune 3, 2014 

Horsefeathers! That’s the only appropriate response to Leonard Pitts’ ridiculous angle in his recent column in which he questions whether veterans appreciate being appreciated. Pitts knows not whereof he speaks.

Yes, some areas that serve veterans need to be improved, but to use the attention-getter of whether veterans appreciate being appreciated is just silly. I remember the day I got my draft notice in May of 1969. The choices were stark: 1. Get drafted, or find a military alternative to a year of training plus a year on the ground in Vietnam; 2. Go to jail; 3. Flee the country; 4. Claim Conscientious Objector status.

I got a little lucky, and was able to get into the USAF as an officer on flying status. I was happy not to be a groundpounder in Vietnam. When I got out as soon as I could in 1975, nobody ever thanked me for my service, an experience nearly universal among Vietnam vets. In fact, I didn’t talk much about my years of military service until the 21st century rolled around.

Believe me, I will take any thanks I can get, and would never take it as insincere. You see, it’s easy to take a virtual posture like Pitts, but a whole different matter when it isn’t merely an academic exercise. I honor all those who serve and have served in our armed services, not just on a special day of remembrance such as Memorial Day, but every day.

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