"I remember the first time I was thanked by a stranger for my military service. It was February 2006, and I was on the way home for mid-tour leave with a planeload of other troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our plane stopped in Bangor, Maine, like thousands of similar flights before and after ours. One by one, garbed in dusty camouflage, we walked into the terminal." Philip Carter
In the context of the way Americans treated soldiers of my generation, the "problem" of an excess of "thankingness" is amusing in a sick, stupid way.
Farther down the page in today's Post, a psychiatrist explains that soldiers want to tell their story to the people they meet. I think that is profoundly true. It is also true, I think, that civilians in general do not want to listen to soldiers. To listen is too difficult for them. To do so would require actually abandoning the selfish little parameters of their lives for a few minutes or hours. That is beyond their level of interest. It is so much easier to offer "the thanks of a grateful nation."