(NewsNation Now) — When Americans meet or learn someone is a military veteran, they often offer up a common phrase of gratitude: “Thank you for your service.”
While they may be gracious in response, what do veterans really think of this greeting?
Marine combat veteran Jon Hancock said it’s “kind of a secret in the veteran community” that it has become somewhat of a joke.
“We make fun of ‘thank you for your service,'” Hancock said. “We don’t make fun of you for saying it, we make fun of ourselves because of how we respond.”
Hancock served as one of the “magnificent bastards” of Fox Company, as they called themselves, but after returning home he found the seen and unseen wounds he endured made living unbearable.
So he embarked on a 6,000-mile walk around the country to connect with fellow veterans, a journey which is documented in the film “Bastard’s Road.”
For combat veterans, he said it’s unclear what they’re being thanked for because their service can often entail traumatic events. Or for those who never see combat, they may have survivor’s guilt about their time in active service.
“‘Thank you for your service’ has become a platitude, it’s become trite and it’s also become awkward — and over the course of years it also seems a little hollow,” Hancock said.
So he suggests an alternative: “welcome home.”
“I think if we bring back ‘Welcome Home’ then we truly mean what we say, and as a society, we welcome our combat veterans and non-combat veterans… back into the fold of society and truly support them in their endeavors of progression and growth and healing,” Hancock said.