Sunday, August 23, 2009

Top Ten

My tea's gone cold, I'm wondering why
I got out of bed at all

--Thank You, Dido

It's wonderful to be here
It's certainly a thrill

You're such a lovely audience

We'd like to take you home with us

--Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles


"Thanks for your service" -- the now ubiquitous comment of the civilian to the serviceman.

Sometimes said with sincerity, but sometimes merely platitudinous, said obligatorily and with the glee that comes of being pro-war without knowing anything about what that actually implies.
When the latter, it ranks up there with "Jesus loves you!" -- how does one respond to such inanity?

Ranger's standard reply is, "Don't thank me; I did it for the money." Friend Publius responds to those who present in an unthinking manner,
"That's o.k. -- I didn't do it for you."

So this post is a survey of the top 10 replies to Thank You for Your Service (TYFYS). They can be sincere or snarky. We are just searching for a response protocol.

The winning entry will be awarded a
"We Support the Troops" decal, Ranger-style.



Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

My responses are quite often trite, mostly due to my mercurial demeanor. I've often just left the comment hanging without acknowledging it.

I don't know what to say and since I'm such a laid back dude, most people don't have a clue I served tours in both PWOT theaters.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 11:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Fasteddiez said...

Don't thank me, I was a Canadian, sent down on a trade for an American draft-dodging scumbag to be named later. Ehrr! Does that make me a soldier of non fortune?.....Have a Nice Day!

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 12:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Fast Eddiez,
Every time I meet a real draft dodger, somebody that brags about his exploits ,I always say-I'm so glad to meet you, I knew the guy that died in your place.
I believe as many Canadians served as did Americans run off to Canada.
One Canadian won the MOH.Good job that!
I have absolutely no problem with conscientious objectors, my disconnect is with trick fuckers that buddy fucked the rest of us that did our duty.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 7:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Well G e G -then thanks for your service!
I guess we're both laid back dudes since i wear no identifying garb or decals on my car. Now I have a post sticker after visiting Bragg. That'll draw comments I'm sure. I seldom even go on post, even the px and commissary can't get me there, i never go to reunions but rather meet selected individuals off post for dinner.
The last and only time I went to a VVAW meeting they treated me like a turd in the punchbowl because I opposed their motto-honor the warrior and not the war. They thought i was an ass hole because i will not honor any warrior. I honor soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 7:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger samcooke said...

I gotta be honest here: with one notable exception last vet's day, when I'm told that I usually feel a little embarrassed.
And I'm not the shy, retiring type.

So normally (".. trouble with "normal is: it always gets worse."-Bruce Cockburn) depending on a quick assessment to determine the innocence or naivete' level of whomever said it, I let rip with "in service to what? or service to whom 'cause I damn sure wasn't serving the interests of my people, or my country."

That either ends the conversation or starts a good one or I get a look like I never knew what a "Vietnam" was. Sometimes I turn sideways a little bit so as to present a smaller profile. Sometimes I put my hand in my pocket.
Sometimes the ProfessionalVets/flagdraggers or "Vietnam-Era Vets" nearly always try to defend their honorable REMF time by questioning my valor,
heritage or parentage or something like it.
The worst ones are those who went to jump school or Ranger training and got assigned to Korea or Germany or Hawaii or Ft Leonard Wood. Those boys are frustrated.
I can see why.

I try to explain that I have a DD214 and my daddy did too.
Hardly ever works.
Some of 'em get those little frothy thingies at the corners of they lips.

I end up trying to make some kind of little joke, all-the-while reminding myself what the Buddha says about the duality of nature: "Same, Same But Different."
This is when I usually turn sideways and/or put my hand in my pocket.

Old. Ain't dead.

The notable exception was last Veteran's Day. I'd been over to the Wall all day with a bro I hadn't seen in 32 years. (We'd been on our Senior Trip Abroad together....it was a reunion of sorts).

We'd made rubbings of all the guy's names we grew up with, or "served" with in Vietnam, ( holding on to 42 of 'em in my sweaty palm, was making me weak from the effort....or the result). We had shot all the tape my filmmaking partner had brought with him for the documentary I'm producing about the war. We all needed a break over at the Lincoln Monument. Besides, I wanted to go over to the Korean War monument to see the tribute to their "service" and dark was approaching.

Big lines, long wait, so I'm standing still, watching the faces as they walked up to Mr. Lincoln, when I noticed a little guy about 8 or 9 had walked up alongside me. Save for the look on my face, I didn't have on anything that marked me as a vet. Checking him out , he looked up at me with that most incredibly beauty-full look of all children that age and stuck out his hand.

"Thank you for your service."

I couldn't say shit. I patted him on the back and turned away, wiping my eyes on my arm. Sweat running down, you know.

My bro's walk up at precisely that moment. Filmmaking partner says, quietly:
"Let's go see Thomas Jefferson."

"It is good to be helpful and kindly, but don't give yourself to be melted into candle grease for the benefit of the tallow trade."
-George Eliot

There it is.


Monday, August 24, 2009 at 12:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah, we support our troops and thank them for their service.

just what we need, another trite and meaningless phrase.

about a month ago the girlfriend and i were scouting new talent at a local strip club (she gets a "finder's fee" from her agency if a new girl proves out). there was a young ass marine, from north carolina, who was drooling over a young russian blonde. when he got up to go to the head i noticed his limp. we began talking and it turns out he was on medical, waiting out his time until the bones fully knit so he can rejoin his unit in afghanistan. he was in san diego to be close to his sergeant who was in balboa.

we swapped a few war stories, fuck jim, some of them were even true. we compared scars, talked about buddies, living and dead.

no, i didn't say "thank you for your service." i said "proud to know you gyrene." he replied that it was the same with him.

then i bought him a lap dance.

there's saying "thank you," and there's giving fucking thanks where due sez i.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 12:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Range, I don't say thanks, I say "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that those rotten chickenhawk, greedy, warmongering sons of-and bitches sent y'all over there. If I had MY way, y'all'd be home. All I can do is wish you peace and verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry little PTSD." Now if it was WW2, hostage rescue, or if the Navy or Coast Guard pulling me out of the ocean when shipwrecked, then you're damn straight--THANKS! But I just can't say thanks for having your mind, body or life wasted for PNAC-ers and the out-of-control military-industrial-congressional complex. All I can say is "I'm sorry!"

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 9:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Publius said...

Well, Ranger, don't say I didn't warn you. Sam Cooke weighs in with the little dude; I ask you, how direct and honest (and wise ass) do you want to be with a sincere little dude?

That's why I told you, situation and terrain. I won't use the standard reply with currently serving GIs, principally because it seems it's not my place to rain on their parade, or with the little dudes, who, bless their hearts, still believe. Everybody else gets the standard.

To Fast Eddie, whom I don't encounter as often as I'd like: I don't recall thanking you. You need not say, "you're welcome," nor do you need to thank me. And I did not know you were a Canuck. Gotta mull that one over a bit.

Minstrel Boy's got the kind of "thank you" to which I can relate. Maybe if I'd gotten some lap dances, I might be a little more inclined to accept "thank you" more graciously than is usually the case. Although there were some girls....

Rubbings on the wall. I don't go to the wall. I was there in June. Got as far as the statue and turned around. Maybe because I don't want middle America slobbering on me. Or maybe just because that black wedge bums me.

Face it. Our lack of gratitude for everything our nation and its citizenry have done for us reveals us as a bunch of churls. I for one have resolved to do something about it, especially in light of everything the nation is doing for modern troops in Afghanistan and other wonderful places.

I think I'll be an even bigger asshole next year.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

To all: Your responses are most eloquent and thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time. I imagine the question itself provokes a slew of emotions.

samcooke: Please tell us more about your documentary sometime.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 8:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

aside to publius:

my biggest resolution regarding all that shit was to determine that i would no longer critique the response of myself and those who shared the experience with me.

folks who want to talk about it, are free to go right ahead and talk.

i have done the wall, once in d.c. and a few times at the moving wall.

i noticed the same thing though. if i show the slightest bit of emotion when i'm there, some "concerned" citizen is always wanting to help me process my emotions.

what they don't understand is that when my personal space and attention gets intruded upon at times like that my first and almost overpowering emotion is to choke the dogshit outta them right there.

i took my son to the moving wall. we spent an afternoon and i told him about the people who used to walk around and answer to those names. it's easy to forget. those were living, breathing, laughing, cussing, people.

lincoln, at gettysburgh, got it exactly right. we cannot consecrate, or aptly memorialize their sacrifice, much as we try.

jim, i have a friend who chose to dodge up to canada. he lives in toronto to this day. he's still my friend. one of the things that i actually admire is that he refused to accept the "amnesty" given. he feels that acceptance of it would involve an admission that he was wrong in his choice.

it was a bitter, violent, and in many ways, insane time of our history. we did what we did. ao there it is.

and yes, publius. most of us would have been better off with a few lap dances. i doubt that the v.a. will ever fully reconize their healing potential but, in my own sweet way, i try.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

It's hard to discuss the really fine points.
Those that went to Canada took a step that could not be reversed very easily. They decisively committed to their course of action. It's hard to call them draft dodgers when they could've done the normal thing and simply flunked their asvab or gotten a phony Doctors evaluation as did so many. The Dr. route was usually for the country club set since inner city boys didn't have such connections.
As per lap dances.I was at a yard sale recently and a woman my age started talking to me and said that she was a dancer at the Circus Lounge at Bragg in 68-71 time frame. I reached into my pocket and gave her 20$ and said-heres a tip, i didn't have the money in 69 so here it is a little bit late. She laughed and took the money. As Harry Chapin said- she tucked the bill in her shirt. She's now a born again person.
BTW this club was off limits but Valentine and I went there often, what could they do to us? Send us to VN? Or bend our dogtags?
Does your friend scout male talent? I'm ready to sell my body for some quick money.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:32:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I must add a point.
I don't seek out nor do I try to pass judgement on anyone , nor do I question motives very much BUT i cannot accept being around a loud mouth that brags about being a draft dodger. I had friends in the SDS and the draft resistance. I don't even wolf on Jane Fonda anymore as this just doesn't matter much any more.
I dislike braggarts of any persuasion.
The problem is systemic and dodgers were simply a manifestation of the corruption of the system. My hostility is probably because I was a willing dupe. In Slovak it's dupa.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Fasteddiez said...

Publius said:
"I don't recall thanking you. You need not say, "you're welcome," nor do you need to thank me."

Say Hunnhhh????

This is a contest....for an appropriate answer to the tweetyesque (Chris Matthews), barf rendering, guilt ridden, elitist habit of thanking various (Ossifer mostly) soldiery for their service in the latest Goatfucks.

As such, my entire post was a riff from word one. Just like the time the CNAS boy Exum (emphasis on boy), hosted a caption contest based on a happy snap of his boss( the unctious potage eater with the dyslexic cutlery challenges Nagl). For those who remember.....THAT entire post of mine was a riff, with nary a comment in sight. This in stark contrast with the rest of the dopes who posted, and did not have the wherewithall to follow simple directions. What is even more Hurl inducing is that the Abu M site is viewed as some sort of Sanctum Sanctorum of Warfare/Foreign policy.

Does this mean that I used this snippet in a real world situation?
No, but I have used variations on that theme on occasions where the proverbial "Nam" propped up. Does this mean that I have been thanked in the manner so popular today?
No, a bended knee to the Deities for small favors......more to come.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 2:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Fasteddiez said...

Publius said:

"And I did not know you were a Canuck. Gotta mull that one over a bit."

I was a belgian citizen first (Belgian father German Mother....met during the Big One in Berlin). Then I became Canadian through the auspices of my then DP parents (DP being the Canadian kids verbiage of newly landed immigrants....I thought it was funny, but then there was a shitload of us).

When I went back to the Suck (on recruiting duty 83-86) the Admin chief suggested that I de-Canadyiafy my ass prior to Augmenting back to the "fleet," as I would probably need a Secret clearance. Thus, I became a US citizen. A handy choice, since when left the grunts sometime later, my new "mode d'emploi" needed me to get TS/SCI/SSBI access.

I thought I went over all of this with your buddy MSR/SNLII in the defense of my bona Fides on Intel Dump. Anywhoo......just ask mike, as he has a copy my papers.

So you see, I collect citizenships. Hopefully this one shan't be my last. My wife fears leaving her doctors at UCI, so that is an obstacle, at present.

What's to mull over? Oh Ranger, the thing about the dodgers coming to Canada gets me two ways: One, if they are adequately educated, they compete with native Canadians for employment in a manner that puts them ahead of real immigrants.

Secondly, Canada has always supplied more troops per capita than any other ally in modern day War. So if the Russkies had blown through the Fulda Gap, Canada would have had to resort to a draconic call to arms. Just what percentage of these americanoid scumbags would have willingly fought for their new country? GINGO apllies here, I think.

Now, Joan Baez' husband, I doff my hat to. He said he wasn't going, and he went to jail.

Also, post my first discharge in 1968, I lived in Houston and had numerous friends who avoided the draft. They just moved from a different state. The government was too doofus to find any of them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 3:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes, the thanks sound sincere. Sometimes, they don't. I have been known to snap, "Don't make me shove that yellow ribbon up your tailpipe, Bub."

Mostly, I am just more anti-social and hermitic than ever. I scraped my bumperstickers OFF the car, and stopped answering the phone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 9:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

My grandparents were DP's rrom the 1st war.
You do not have to prove your bona fides on RAW, this is not a suck ass socnet type blog. I get real tired of the challenges to creds on the internet, there are a lot of phony types but that's not our concern. There are bigger issues to consider.
We are all friends here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 9:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Your good work with the labyrinth must take a lot of energy, psychic and otherwise. It almost if, by definition, you would become more hermetic with such a devotional.

Thank you for your noble efforts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 10:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ranger's new snarky reply will be,
"And thank you for writing to your senators and congressmen petitioning for increased veteran's benefits,


"And thank you for volunteering at VA hospitals."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 12:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Ranger.. I told you I would check out your site. And I must admit that you have some keen points on things.

I know what it is like to be for and against War. I am for going to War if it is to protect our way of life and or freedoms. I am against going to war if it is to change another group of people and their way of life. This is the United States of America Not the United States of the World.

Your Friend Kevin..

Check out my site. if you get a chance..

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 2:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I tried the site that you sent and got nothing.
Pls send correct address.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 3:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Not much to say on the main topic - I suspect that most civilians who ever saw me in uniform recognized that I was Uncle Sam's worst bargain since MacNamara's Hundred Thousand.

But on the subject of running to avoid the draft. I've never understood the importance of those who ran away rather than faced up to their responsibilities. WW2 had it's own cadre who didn't or wouldn't fight. Many of them went overseas as aidmen and litter-bearers and died right alongside the guys with the rifles. Many others went to prison, or were interned at hard labor for the duration. I've always felt that either one was more decent, and more honorable, than running like a rabbit.

You can argue that Vietnam was a mistake, and "who wants to die for a mistake"? But I'd suggest that part of being a citizen is standing up to your country's mistakes. If that means going to prison, well, you'd be in good company. From Colonial times men and women of conscience have been imprisoned for their beliefs. What made the Canada draft-dodgers such special snowflakes to get blanket amnesties and all the press they did?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 3:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...

labrys, glad to see you commenting again. Missed your wit and humor and ditto on the good work with the labyrinth.

Hell, you guys are making me feel left out. In the 40 yrs post VN, I’ve been thanked for my service to my country only three times. Twice by my cousins wife the past couple of veteran days and once by you Ranger. My response, being a draftee was usually something like, well it wasn’t my choice. Of course I moved to Canada 5 yrs after VN which may explain the lack of gratitude. In my early yrs in Canada I was asked quite often if I was a draft dodger. If they discovered my military service then I was asked, what do you think of the draft dodgers? My answer was “in retrospect, they were right, weren’t they.” However. I too have no respect for loud mouths who brag about dodging.

I’ve had the opportunity a few yrs back to go to the first two Our Way Home Reunion’s in Castlegar, B.C. (The Slocan Valley area north of Castlegar was home to hundreds of draft dodgers in the 60’s and 70’s) The reunion was basically a war resisters reunion with past and current themes. Speakers like George McGovern and Daniel Ellsberg, performers like Buffy St Marie, Country Joe and Holly Near. Got to meet David Cline there, an amazing VN vet, who passed away this past year, but accomplished so much for vets in his lifetime. Anyway, I found the resisters who came to the reunion from all over the states and Canada to be highly intelligent people, most who had continued in the anti war movements. Their life stories were amazing and very belief based and life altering. I’m sure they were the cream of the crop though and like you said, we forget about all the well connected medical deferments, teaching deferments and military related job deferments and focus on draft dodgers.

I too, like you Ranger, was a willing dupe. The lack of counseling was a bone of contention between me and my dad for years but then, I like many, was just into drinking beer and chasing chicks at that age. In light of that I have a world of respect for resisters who made intelligent choices. The others, well……

I’m still troubled that no one in my immediate family has yet to thank me for my service to my/their country!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 4:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Lisa will confirm that I'm not a huggy/feely type of guy. But after reading your letter I think you need a hug, or maybe a lap dance.
If you do the lap dance send the bill to Minstral Boy.
If we ever meet I'll give you a hug.
My parents are proud that I was SF but they don't even know what that means.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 4:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I second TW's emotion.
It's nice hearing from you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 4:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Andy said...

I'm in the Guard and the only time I'm "thanked for my service" is when I'm in uniform. Since I'm in uniform I'm invariably polite and answer with some version of, "well, thank you for that, but it's really not necessary to thank me." My wife, who is active duty, does the same. We do it mostly to show respect for the uniform, though I frankly have no idea what I'll say when I no longer feel restricted by it and my service obligations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 8:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Winner to be announced shortly. . .

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 12:09:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who confuse Africa with the Middle East? Someone who has no clue about the world, I can only assume.

Monday, October 5, 2009 at 3:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Award winners:

[1] 1st Place: Fasteddiez

[2] Miss Congeniality: SamCooke [Deryle]

Send us addresses to receive your prize: "ranger -at- rangeragainstwar.com"

Monday, October 5, 2009 at 10:59:00 AM GMT-5  

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