I am a veteran.
Please don't thank me for my service.
It only serves to remind me of the irreparable harm I have done in the name of a fiction. I have taken life in the name of catharsis, destroyed families in the name of revenge, and laid waste to nations in the name of a false exceptionalism. My complicity in the murder of Iraqi and Afghan citizens did nothing to secure your freedom. The violence I participated in was not in your defense, but in offense of the humanity of those upon whom that violence was visited. You are in no way safer because of what I have done. In fact, all that I have done is ensure the animosity against you persists for another generation. I am not proud. I am ashamed. This debt is one that I will spend the rest of my life trying to repay, knowing I will never succeed in doing so.
When you thank me for my service, it only reinforces the cycle of violence.
So please, don't thank me for my service.
It did neither of us any good.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Teach me to seek peace, to make peace, to live in peace.
Make me a peacemaker, that I might be called Your child.
But for now, please just give me peace...