Thank you for your service. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Sorry for your loss.
What these expressions have in common is that they’re spoken so frequently that they no longer have any real meaning. We use them as utilities when the circumstances require us to say something, and we haven’t really thought about a more heartfelt way of saying it.
Instead, we cover our bases by trotting out one of our well-tested conversational catchlines.
“Thank you for your service” is of particular note this weekend, as we honor soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen who aren’t around to hear us say it.
In that respect, “Thank you for your service” doesn’t cover the debt. Honoring our fallen military personnel would require so much more than that, and the only way to show it is to do more than saying “thanks” to those who were lucky enough to have done their duty and returned.
How would Marylanders feel, for instance, about picking up an extra five cents on their tax rates to extend some form of property tax break to all veterans, not just disabled ones?
Perhaps the state income tax, which spares the first $15,000 of pay for active duty personnel serving overseas, might be lifted for all active duty service members when they’re not living in Maryland, but are on a base or in port somewhere else in the U.S.
What kind of greeting is that upon returning home — thank you for your service … and, by the way, you owe back income taxes?
As it is, veterans don’t get that much once their service is done — a pat on the back, maybe a ceremony and public recognition. If we are so grateful that others have done their duty for us, we should be willing to back it up with more than just saying so.