A young vet came forward, turned to a civilian he hadn’t met before, and said: “Don’t just tell me ‘Thank you for your service.’ First say, ‘Please.’” He didn’t explain further. But the resentment expressed was unmistakable. You couldn’t be a civilian in that room and not feel the sting.
That the military code—never abandon a buddy, bring all your troops home, don't put innocents at risk—is impossible to meet doesn't always register deep down. The result may be shame, and all too often suicidal shame.