The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Stop Thanking Veterans

“Thank you for your service.”

Stop saying it.  I’m serious.  The standard phrase that so many people use to express thanks is inadequate; it’s empty.

When people would say those five words to me, it would make me uncomfortable. I didn’t sacrifice much, and I lived a pretty cool life while stationed in Japan.  I felt their gratitude was misdirected; I never saw combat, I was not a hero.  My overall opinion has changed; I now realize the military is a whole ball of wax.  Because I did my job well as an F/A-18 mechanic, missions were flown and, long story short, the good guys prevailed.  However even to this day I find those five words lacking meaning and depth.

“Thank you for your service.”

That is only the first layer of what you should be saying.  Most veterans are selfless and don’t know how to relate to that five-word sentence.  The uncommon character of true Heroes is amplified by the military.  The military puts individuals in situations where they have no choice but to react.  As a result, lives are saved, some make the ultimate sacrifice, and many sustain injuries that have drastically affected their lives. So tell me, what is beyond those five words?  How has their service impacted you?  By saying ‘Stop thanking veterans,’ what I actually mean is, stop just thanking veterans. Go a step further.

I challenge you to tell a veteran what you did with your life while they were serving.

Captain William Eberle, 3rd SF Group, was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his valiant actions on December 2, 2012 in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan.  (You can read about Will and eight more brave men in this article; please take the time to do so.)
Capt Will Eberle 3rd Special Forces GroupI’ll suit action to words. To Will, I say:

“While you were actively fighting the Global War on Terrorism, I was leading a simple life.  My biggest concerns at that time were which new car to pick out and what guns to purchase for 3-gun competition.  My daughter was 6 years old and very much looking forward to Christmas.  I was busy with my day-to-day routine of working the night shift as a registered nurse at a prison while balancing the expected aspects of raising a child.  Because of you and veterans like you, I have enjoyed my life in the way that I want and raised my daughter with the freedoms not shared by the rest of the world.  Will, thank you for volunteering for a life that others could not endure.  Thank you for my carefree life.”


Tell veterans and those serving on active duty what you are truly thankful for in your life.  If you’re not sure when they served, you can tell them a broad spectrum about what has made your life wonderful.  For example: you raised a good family, you went to school, you volunteered for something that drives you, you landed your dream job, etc. Do it in person or feel free to do so in the comments below.

If someone told me how he or she enjoyed their life because I (and others) served, I would be proud and thankful for the life they have lived.  Their story would give so much more meaning to the entirety of service that is the military.


Candice Horner, RECOIL’s newest contributor, is a former Marine turned RN turned competitive shooter. The recent winner of the Mammoth Sniper Challenge Extreme Tough Man Division with her husband Daniel, she is a mother, 3-gun shooter, patriot and writer. You can read more of her work at Life, Love and Shooting.


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