As a combat veteran of Vietnam, I am not comforted when people thank me for my service. More than 58,000 American troops died in that war without purpose.
Many veterans now carry unseen injuries, among them the loss of dignity and sense of morality that comes from knowing that we contributed to the deaths of countless innocents.
If someone really wants to thank a vet, write to President Obama, N.C. Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr and our state legislators in Raleigh and ask them to bring our troops home safely, and ensure that they’ll be taken care of when they return; to provide funding for mental health services to address veterans’ moral and psychic wounds; to expand Medicaid funding here in North Carolina to relieve the stresses now afflicting veterans who cannot afford health care for their families; to provide job training for unemployed vets whose military training taught them to kill but not to heal, and programs for our homeless vets, too; and to close the hundreds of U.S. military bases around the globe, removing our troops from danger and lessening the resentments that are a major recruiting tool for terrorists.
Then I, as a veteran, will thank them.