On this day when we honor veterans of military service, what are the best ways to show our appreciation? Is it in verbally thanking someone in uniform for his or her service?
KPCC's Veterans and Military Reporter John Ismay, a veteran himself, talked to AirTalk about his thoughts on verbal appreciation and what service members he has spoken with have shared with him. Ismay says sometimes showing appreciation is more important for civilians than for actual service members.
"I think the person who is in uniform is pretty OK with being in uniform or else they wouldn't have volunteered, or they'd probably get out," he said. "[Civilians], they have this feeling that they want to share [with service members]."
Some professional sports teams in Major League Baseball have thanked service members by introducing them between innings. A recent Senate review of military recruitment spending shows that nearly $7 million in federal money has been paid to pro sports teams to honor service members. Ismay said that he feels while receiving appreciation is nice, giving money out to show appreciation can change things.
"Whenever someone wants to say thank you or appreciate what we do, it basically always comes from a good place and you can't be upset," he said. "When it's just sort of done as a result of somebody getting paid, that's a different story."
Ismay says some military service members don't feel appreciative of this kind of military spending.
"I think talking to [military] friends of mine [who have gotten out] or seeing what they post [on social media], they feel like it's emotionally manipulative," he said.
So what is the best way to show your gratitude to a service member? Here are some ways that members of the AirTalk audience, including some veterans, said that people could give back:
- "Volunteer at anything for the public good, honor commitments made over the years including funding those obligations."
- "Give back instead through your own civil service."
- "Veterans need services, along with thanks, not necessarily in stadiums."
- "I understand the good will behind 'thank you for your service,' but I struggle with a response. It can be difficult to reconcile my military service to whatever benefit the thanker has experienced. A better way to recognize a veteran’s service is to ask about their military experience: What did they do? What did they learn? For employers in particular, these are questions that could reveal veterans as uniquely qualified candidates for their companies." — Steven Rho
John Ismay, KPCC’s Veterans And Military Issues Reporter