Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Being a Veteran in our society seem to be a struggle and a daily burden. Just look at the news and all sorts of published articles. Veterans are constantly used as scapegoats for the lack of understanding that exists between the veteran community and their civilian counterpart. Some say that " veterans are less suited for jobs that involve social-emotional skills and interacting with people than their non-veteran counterparts". This statement contradicts itself because it acknowledges that veterans do have social-emotional skills that are well expressed when interacting with other veterans. As opposed to blaming or accusing veterans, the non-veteran counterparts need to do a lot of soul searching for why they are unable to connect with the brave and courageous men and women who serve this nation.
Human being have this natural tendency of blaming others and looking for flaws elsewhere as opposed to turning inwards to fix the problems from within. Let me be as clear as I can be. "Veterans are not the problem!". If someone has nothing good to say about the veterans, mainly those who did not find the necessary courage to volunteer to "protect and defend" this country, they will do our nation a big service by simply staying silent. Constantly adding additional blames to veterans is also a contributing factor for the high suicide rate that this minority population suffers today. How can someone who has never served or simply never vested the time to learning to understand what it means to serve be credible to judge those who have served? The so-called experts position themselves as credible just because they hold a degree (piece of paper) from an institution that expected them to memorize things. One cannot accurately judge any culture from outside, and judging the military culture from outside is not any different.
Civilians must take the time and learn what it means to serve a nation. Being in the Military is not the only way one serves his/her country. There are common values that define a nation. Those common values must be protected, upheld, and enforced for the greater good of all and everyone must contribute to this noble endeavor. While some 'defend and protect' from any outside threats, others must 'uphold and preserve' those values internally and some must 'protect and enforce' them equally. The bravery of our men and women in uniform through the accomplishment of their 'defend and protect' duty is well documented and admired by all. The police force is trying their best to 'protect and enforce' those common values. The real ones missing in action are the civilian population that are not able to fulfill their 'uphold and preserve' duty.
Just look at our politician today, most - if not all - of them are corrupted. They only serve the interest of those who fund their campaigns and their personal ambitions at the expense of the interest of our nation. Is this something that we want our brave veterans to come home and conform to? The corruption happens because the civilian population that was supposed to be watchful is distracted and selfish. Look at our regular citizen, they are not active participants in upholding and preserving the values that should identify us as a nation. Everyone seem to only care about their own self. People are going about their daily lives only caring about themselves as opposed to living up to the values, and the promise of the nation while holding those they put in power accountable. Yet, everyone wants to blame the brave veterans for not confirming to the chaotic lifestyle when most veterans find such way of life meaningless and superficial.
The best way to thank and honor a veteran is not simply to spit out the words "Thanks for your service" that - for the most part - just feel like a formality from the person who says it. Civilians must take time to learn what it means to serve a nation. Being in the Military is not the only way one serves his/her country. In a country of more than 300 Million peoples, less than 1% have and continue to fulfill their "defend and protect' duty while the vast majority of those who were supposed to 'uphold and preserve' are literally missing in action. Are you also expecting vets to come home to 'uphold and preserve' while falling back to become another distracted citizen? There is a handful of individuals who are able to rewrite the laws by corrupting those who were supposed to represent us. This is only possible because civilian are distracted, they are not actively participating in the life of our nation, yet they are quick to blame the few noble ones who have fulfilled their job.
Those who have fought, fully understand that the survival of self depends on the survival of the group and vice versa. The survival of a group is only possible when all members have shared common values and live up to . This is why military members are willing to put their own lives on the line for the survival of the group. How many civilians with the so called emotional intelligence are capable of putting their life on the line for their own neighbors today? Service men and women fully understand that individualism is the absolute certainty for death and the only chance of survival is within a community. If the civilians community is not capable of offering something for the veterans to bond with, they will always go back to the ones they trust. Unfortunately, there is no sense of community in our own nation. We can't and shouldn't expect our Veterans to come to a home that is a mess, expect them to fall in the chaos, lack of structure, and a society where people seem to only care about themselves. Civilian are not making the Police Corp's job easy because the Police is forced to enforce the laws that, in reality, only serve the interests of the few. If the civilian population was awake and active participants in the life of our nation, they would be holding our elected officials accountable so that they only pass laws and policies that serve the interests of all. Service is what will bridge the gap between the veterans and civilians, while the lack of service to this nation by all will maintain it. Continuing to blame the veterans only exacerbate the struggles they endure daily in their attempt to feel as an integral part of our nation.
Before accusing or blaming our brave veterans, civilians can simply ask themselves what bond do they have with their own neighbor? Most people spend their entire life without having a meaningful conversation with their own neighbor. This is simply impossible in the military where people of all backgrounds, creeds, nationality, and religions come together as one corps. My fellow civilians will benefit by learning greatly from the Military as opposed to always pointing their finger, blaming, and thinking that the problem is with the Veteran. Veterans, through their service have proven that they don't have the so-called "lack of emotional intelligence", they simply don't agree with the lack of structure, discipline, sense of community, and the superficiality that most people display while going about their daily lives and don't want to be part of it.
Service is the common bond between all those who - at some point - wore a uniform. "Thanks for your service" must therefore be the intersection of 'defend and protect' (AKA Military), 'uphold and preserve'(AKA Civilian), and 'protect and enforce'(AKA Law Enforcement). Military members, regardless of any branch of service, seem to get along easily and naturally (beside the bragging rights) simply because they all have fulfilled their 'defend and protect' duty. Law Enforcement is doing their best in enforcing laws that are carved with the scalp of injustice for the masses or justice for the few. Law enforcement seems to get along with veterans just fine simply because they all have service in common. The last puzzle is our civilian population. Serving our nation is what should serve as the common bond between the Military, Civilian, and Law Enforcement. That value-based intersection is the missing piece of the puzzle that creates the weird interaction between civilians and uniformed members of our society.