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Adm. Stavridis properly recognizes that many others beside we who wear or wore the uniform also deserve thanks, and yet, having heard a reflexive "Thank you for your service" many times, I am saddened how inadequate those words are to the task.

Many are remembered for deeds done and sacrifices endured for others, but it seems to me that the truest and best of thanks are expressed by learning the lessons that service teaches, making it unnecessary, that they who serve need not suffer or die on our account.

What might be the best of thanks for those who wear and wore our country's uniform? If only our nation could see itself honestly, how false we are to our principles and promises, and how thin the veneer of virtue is that we present to the world, and how transparent our hypocrisy. The best of thanks is to deserve the reputation we believe our due, to make that so apparent that even our enemies must admire us and respect us more than they hate us. Then we and our brothers and sisters-in-arms will no longer need to die to preserve an illusion, for we will actually be good, and strong, and true.

From a longer work:

And know our living ever watch,
To ask, as we would do,
Is what you are, worth what we paid?
Is what we paid, worth you?
© Cortland Richmond

Cortland E. Richmond
SFC USA, Retired