Don’t thank me for my service. . .

If you feel the need to thank anyone, thank our families, thank our loved ones, thank the ones that truly sacrificed, and the loved ones that continue to sacrifice.

Better yet – you really want to thank your service men and women? Stop behaving so poorly to each other. Stop the partisan attacks on one another and the ideological vitriol pointed both ways. Stop being Republicans or Democrats, Homosexuals or Straights, Blacks or Whites, Reds or Blues and start being Americans. Let’s stop identifying far right and far left, and start looking to see where we are closer in opinion than media, social or otherwise, would have us believe.

I get it – that is what America is – we have the freedom to be who we want. You do. No doubt. Everyone should have that freedom. However, when that freedom elevates our own interests and demeans others with loathing and hate – it seems bad for all of us. We know that a house divided will fall. Do we really believe that everyone who doesn’t agree with us is either a Nazi or a Snowflake? Do we really think either side wants to destroy the nation? Can’t we come to some compromise on most of what we disagree on? I have faith that Americans can – we have figured it out for over 200 years.

Let’s stop using our politicians and celebrities as role models. Let’s start treating each other with the respect every human deserves, whether we agree with their ideas or not. Can’t we separate the actor from the actions? Is everyone who doesn’t agree with you stupid? As importantly, just because you might think they are, doesn’t mean you need to share that information. In fact, just because you have a platform on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, doesn’t mean anyone cares what your opinion happens to be on any given subject.

Americans, you want to thank us for our service? Be the America we were proud to serve – one with warts and all, but one where each of us loved our country and were proud to be Americans. That does not mean you have to be proud of everything America does, but overall, are more proud to be part of this country than not. Those of us that have served and have seen what the rest of the world has to offer – not from the window of a hotel in Paris, or backpacking through Norway, but from the streets of the Middle East, the neighborhoods of Africa and the poorest parts of the Caribbean and Pacific.

Want to thank us for our service? Act like you care – not about yourselves or your opinions, but about your fellow Americans and the nation that makes great things possible. We aren’t perfect – far from it – and we need to get better in a bunch of ways – but we are far better than most places and we should feel grateful for that fact. Not complacent, but while we are making America better (not great again, or better than everywhere else, just better than we were) let’s acknowledge that we are fortunate to be in a nation where our capacity has not yet been reached, and the sky is the limit for the future.

Want to thank us for our service? Stop saying it the way you say, “bless you” and “how are you”. While we are sure your intent is good, and you mean it, it starts to become an empty saying that at best makes us uncomfortable and at worst seems insincere. Thank us with your behavior. Thank us with your patriotism. Thank us with your love of all American Citizens even the ones you disagree with on an issue.

Thank us by being good Americans.