Articles, Blog

Wes Moore: How to talk to veterans about the war

November 9, 2019

I’m excited to be here to speak about vets, because I didn’t join the Army because I wanted to go to war. I didn’t join the Army because I had a lust or a need to go overseas and fight. Frankly, I joined the Army because college is really damn expensive, and they were going to help with that, and I joined the Army because it was what I knew, and it was what I knew that I thought I could do well. I didn’t come from a military family. I’m not a military brat. No one in my family ever
had joined the military at all, and how I first got introduced to the military was when I was 13 years old and I got sent away to military school, because my mother had been threatening me with this idea of military school
ever since I was eight years old. I had some issues when I was coming up, and my mother would always tell me, she’s like, “You know, if you don’t get this together, I’m going to send you to military school.” And I’d look at her, and I’d say, “Mommy, I’ll work harder.” And then when I was nine years old, she started giving me brochures
to show me she wasn’t playing around, so I’d look at the brochures, and I’m like, “Okay, Mommy, I can see you’re
serious, and I’ll work harder.” And then when I was 10 and 11, my behavior just kept on getting worse. I was on academic and disciplinary probation before I hit double digits, and I first felt handcuffs on my wrists when I was 11 years old. And so when I was 13 years old, my mother came up to me, and she was like, “I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m going to send you to military school.” And I looked at her, and I said, “Mommy, I can see you’re upset, and
I’m going to work harder.” And she was like, “No, you’re going next week.” And that was how I first got introduced to this whole idea of the military, because she thought this was a good idea. I had to disagree with her wholeheartedly when I first showed up there, because literally in the first four days, I had already run away five times from this school. They had these big black gates
that surrounded the school, and every time they would turn their backs, I would just simply run out of the black gates and take them up on their offer
that if we don’t want to be there, we can leave at any time. So I just said, “Well, if that’s the case, then I’d like to leave.” (Laughter) And it never worked. And I kept on getting lost. But then eventually, after staying there for a little while, and after the end of that first year at this military school, I realized that I actually was growing up. I realized the things that I enjoyed about this school and the thing that I enjoyed about the structure was something that I’d never found before: the fact that I finally felt like I
was part of something bigger, part of a team, and it actually mattered to people that I was there, the fact that leadership wasn’t just a punchline there, but that it was a real, actually core part of the entire experience. And so when it was time for me to actually finish up high school, I started thinking about what I wanted to do, and just like probably most students, had no idea what that meant or what I wanted to do. And I thought about the people who I respected and admired. I thought about a lot of the people, in particular a lot of the men, in my life who I looked up to. They all happened to wear the uniform of the United States of America, so for me, the question and the answer really became pretty easy. The question of what I wanted to do was filled in very quickly with saying, I guess I’ll be an Army officer. So the Army then went through this process and they trained me up, and when I say I didn’t join the Army because I wanted to go to war, the truth is, I joined in 1996. There really wasn’t a whole lot going on. I didn’t ever feel like I was in danger. When I went to my mom, I first joined the Army when I was 17 years old, so I literally needed parental permission to join the Army, so I kind of gave the paperwork to my mom, and she just assumed it was
kind of like military school. She was like, “Well, it was good for him before, so I guess I’ll just let him keep doing it,” having no idea that the
paperwork that she was signing was actually signing her son up to become an Army officer. And I went through the process, and again the whole time still just thinking, this is great, maybe I’ll serve on a weekend, or two weeks during the year, do drill, and then a couple years after I signed up, a couple years after my mother signed those papers, the whole world changed. And after 9/11, there was an entirely new context about the occupation that I chose. When I first joined, I never joined to fight, but now that I was in, this is exactly what was now going to happen. And I thought about so much about the soldiers who I eventually had to end up leading. I remember when we first, right after 9/11, three weeks after 9/11, I was
on a plane heading overseas, but I wasn’t heading overseas with the military, I was heading overseas because I got a scholarship to go overseas. I received the scholarship to go overseas and to go study and live overseas, and I was living in England and that was interesting, but at the same time, the same people who I was training with, the same soldiers that I went
through all my training with, and we prepared for war, they were now actually heading over to it. They were now about to find themselves in the middle of places the fact is the vast majority of people, the vast majority of us as we were training, couldn’t even point out on a map. I spent a couple years finishing graduate school, and the whole entire time while I’m sitting there in buildings at Oxford that were literally built hundreds of years before the United States was even founded, and I’m sitting there talking to dons about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and how that influenced the start of World War I, where the entire time my heart and my head were on my soldiers who were now throwing on Kevlars and grabbing their flak vests and figuring out how exactly do I change around or how exactly do I clean a machine gun in the darkness. That was the new reality. By the time I finished that up and I rejoined my military unit and we were getting
ready to deploy to Afghanistan, there were soldiers in my unit who were now on their second and third deployments before I even had my first. I remember walking out with
my unit for the first time, and when you join the Army and you go through a combat tour, everyone looks at your shoulder, because on your shoulder is your combat patch. And so immediately as you meet people, you shake their hand, and then your eyes go to their shoulder, because you want to see where did they serve, or what unit did they serve with? And I was the only person walking around with a bare shoulder, and it burned every time someone stared at it. But you get a chance to talk to your soldiers, and you ask them why did they sign up. I signed up because college was expensive. A lot of my soldiers signed up
for completely different reasons. They signed up because of a sense of obligation. They signed up because they were angry and they wanted to do something about it. They signed up because their family said this was important. They signed up because they
wanted some form of revenge. They signed for a whole
collection of different reasons. And now we all found ourselves overseas fighting in these conflicts. And what was amazing to me was that I very naively started hearing this statement that I never fully understood, because right after 9/11, you start hearing this idea where people come up to you and they say, “Well, thank you for your service.” And I just kind of followed in and started saying the same things to all my soldiers. This is even before I deployed. But I really had no idea what that even meant. I just said it because it sounded right. I said it because it sounded like the right thing to say to people who had served overseas. “Thank you for your service.” But I had no idea what the context was or what that even, what it even meant to the people who heard it. When I first came back from Afghanistan, I thought that if you make it back from conflict, then the dangers were all over. I thought that if you made it
back from a conflict zone that somehow you could kind of wipe the sweat off your brow and say, “Whew, I’m glad I dodged that one,” without understanding that for so many people, as they come back home, the war keeps going. It keeps playing out in all of our minds. It plays out in all of our memories. It plays out in all of our emotions. Please forgive us if we don’t like being in big crowds. Please forgive us when we spend one week in a place that has 100 percent light discipline, because you’re not allowed to
walk around with white lights, because if anything has a white light, it can be seen from miles away, versus if you use little green or little blue lights, they cannot be seen from far away. So please forgive us if out of nowhere, we go from having 100 percent light discipline to then a week later being back
in the middle of Times Square, and we have a difficult time adjusting to that. Please forgive us when you transition back to a family who has completely been maneuvering without you, and now when you come back, it’s not that easy to fall back into a sense of normality, because the whole normal has changed. I remember when I came back,
I wanted to talk to people. I wanted people to ask me about my experiences. I wanted people to come up to me and tell me, “What did you do?” I wanted people to come up to me and tell me, “What was it like? What was the food like? What was the experience like? How are you doing?” And the only questions I got from people was, “Did you shoot anybody?” And those were the ones who were even curious enough to say anything. Because sometimes there’s this fear and there’s this apprehension that if I say anything, I’m afraid I’ll offend, or I’m afraid I’ll trigger something, so the common default is just saying nothing. The problem with that is then it feels like your service was not even acknowledged, like no one even cared. “Thank you for your service,” and we move on. What I wanted to better understand was what’s behind that, and why “thank you for your service” isn’t enough. The fact is, we have literally 2.6 million men and women who are veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan who are all amongst us. Sometimes we know who they are, sometimes we don’t, but there is that feeling, the shared experience, the shared bond where we know that that experience and that chapter of our life, while it might be closed, it’s still not over. We think about “thank you for your service,” and people say, “So what does ‘thank
you for your service’ mean to you?” Well, “Thank you for your service” means to me, it means acknowledging our stories, asking us who we are, understanding the strength that so many people, so many
people who we serve with, have, and why that service means so much. “Thank you for your service”
means acknowledging the fact that just because we’ve now come home and we’ve taken off the uniform does not mean our larger service to this country is somehow over. The fact is, there’s still a tremendous amount that can be offered and can be given. When I look at people like our friend Taylor Urruela, who in Iraq loses his leg, had two big dreams in his life. One was to be a soldier. The other
was to be a baseball player. He loses his leg in Iraq. He comes back and instead of deciding that, well, now since I’ve lost my
leg, that second dream is over, he decides that he still has that
dream of playing baseball, and he starts this group called VETSports, which now works with veterans all over the country and uses sports as a way of healing. People like Tammy Duckworth, who was a helicopter pilot and with the helicopter that she was flying, you need to use both your hands and also your legs to steer, and her helicopter gets hit, and she’s trying to steer the chopper, but the chopper’s not reacting to her instructions and to her commands. She’s trying to land the chopper safely, but the chopper doesn’t land safely, and the reason it’s not landing safely is because it’s not responding to the
commands that her legs are giving because her legs were blown off. She barely survives. Medics come and they save her life, but then as she’s doing her
recuperation back at home, she realizes that, “My job’s still not done.” And now she uses her voice as a Congresswoman from Illinois to fight and advocate for a collection of issues to include veterans issues. We signed up because we love this country we represent. We signed up because we believe in the idea and we believe in the people to our left and to our right. And the only thing we then ask is that “thank you for your service” needs to be more than just a quote break, that “thank you for your service” means honestly digging in to the people who have stepped up simply because they were asked to, and what that means for us not just now, not just during combat operations, but long after the last vehicle has left and after the last shot has been taken. These are the people who I served with, and these are the people who I honor. So thank you for your service. (Applause)


  • Reply msGvious July 13, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Wes, very moving talk from you. Epic stories of bravery and recovery against all odds. Not surprised that it's difficult to adjust to family and normal life after war … uncomfortable with big crowds, and the shock of going from total light discipline to  Times Square. Very surprised that you guys might want to talk about your experience! We always hear that guys don't want to talk. Best of luck to you and your mates.

  • Reply Fred August 2, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    93k dislike the disrespect on this video.

  • Reply litlbrd August 10, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Funny to see how people that follow TED scream for "Change!" and "Progress!" yet cannot respect soldiers/veterans for doing something most of the civilian population doesn't even have the balls to do. Looks like the TED audience isn't as intelligent as i thought…..

  • Reply Sarcast October 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    maybe I'll thank you when you turn to fight your own government for spreading war wherever they go and end up getting a country full of people who say "just nuke the bastards" cause they probably don't understand that throwing nukes at iraq means destroying the lives of many other nations and countries in a several thousand mile radius, who have nothing to do with the us, iraq or war. maybe it's difficult to understand that if you live in central US and you're practically a continent, but I don't quite like fearing america's gonna nuke half the middle east and I'll never be able to eat food or breathe again, just cause some idiot faked a 9/11 and sent their own people to die in iraq and I live like a thousand kilometers away

  • Reply Agustín Pablo Russo October 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I would rather say "I'm sorry for your service"…

  • Reply Andreas Engholm October 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry that, as I understand it, poverty and a lack of structure or pupose made you choose to join the army. You served evil, with good intentions. The policies of the USA, as with most other countries, is for the rich – who never risk anything, like you did.

  • Reply QuailStudio November 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    the worst TED talk ever

  • Reply Rin November 5, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    When did ted talks hit such record lows to show this kind of speech?

  • Reply Barry H. November 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    All you jerks out there need to say thank you to a vet from all countries that fought for freedom so you can say all the stupid things you do….with out them you would prob. be dead or repressed. So say thank you to a vet. weather you agree or not.

  • Reply Greg Shugal December 31, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    As someone who attended the same Military School when Wes was the ranking student  Leader. He was an inspiration back then, he also played a crucial, yet, unknown role that transformed a troubled out of control youth, into the man I am today. Wes is not only a born leader that leads by example, but a Rhodes Scholar, a Whitehouse Fellow, an Author, A businessman, an Organizer and Combat Veteran (CPT, USArmy). But before he was all those things, he was anothered troubled youth with no direction just like myself
    …Valley Forge Military Academy shaped our morals and character as much as our brains. We will see more of Wes Moore in the next 10 years and can expect great things if he ever decides to run for Public Office, He would truly make a great Independent, not be swayed by one side or the other. When that day comes, I would drop whatever, and once again have him lead, I will do my part in whatever capacity needed…Ive been around my fair share of leaders- business, academia, public officials, military and know leadership when i see it

  • Reply Gregory Shugal December 31, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    As someone who attended the same Military School when Wes was the ranking student Cadet Leader. He was an inspiration back then, he played a crucial, yet  unknown role that transformed a troubled out of control youth, into the man I am today. Wes is not only a born leader that leads by example, but a Rhodes Scholar, a Whitehouse Fellow, an Author, A businessman, an Organizer and Combat Veteran (CPT, USArmy). But before he was all those things, he was anothered troubled youth with no direction…Valley Forge Military Academy shaped our morals and character as much as our brains. We will see more of Wes Moore in the next 10 years and can expect great things if he ever decides to run for Public Office, He would truly make a great Independent, not be swayed by one side or the other. When that day comes, I would drop whatever, and once again have him lead, I will do my part in whatever capacity needed…Ive been around my fair share of leaders- business, academia, public officials, military and know leadership when i see it

  • Reply Neal Linville January 1, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Mr.Moore,
    I have said Thanks for Your Service , to Soldier of Many Wars. I have even Google on YOUTUBE Vets and their Experiences trying to find out what they have been through ,and if they have adjusted to Civilian Life as much as they can yet. I don't know what WAR is like because My Grandfather a WWII Vet said what you see on the News is a sanitized version of war, because they want to Morale up and not let you see the Horrors of it All I can do is say THANKS until Vets Stand up and tell us what it's like.
    He wish Vets would make more Videos telling us their experiences, I Can't Say I Know what you mean BECAUSE UNLESS YOU HAVE SERVED YOU REALLY DON"T.
    I can offer Compassion though and Give a thumbs up. I knew someone casually who joined The Marines after High School because he was Mad when the Twin Towers went down. He handed out Bandana's with Bible Verses on them to the Iraq Civilians. He  was riding in a Supply Truck one day and it turned over Everybody was all right EXCEPT HIM, It Killed he but the Soldiers he was with said it looked like he was sleeping. He wasn't even Born Here He was From BRAZIL . He Died for his adopted Country while still trying to spread The Gospel. I am unable to Serve because I have Physical Disabilities but wanted to the first time I saw FULL METAL JACKET. I thought If I did my time and didn't come home injured that NO ONE would EVER BOTHER ME AGAIN.
    Now that I hear some of the Horror Stories I am kid of glad I wasn't able to Serve.
    Then I think Someone Else's Kid had to take MY PLACE and I feel Guilty.

                                       D. Neal Linville

  • Reply Georgios Michalopoulos January 21, 2015 at 12:35 am

    He wants a 'thank you' for killing Iraqis to pay his college fees.
    This makes sense…

  • Reply Frank Does It May 27, 2015 at 4:25 am

    combat patch goes on your right shoulder, not the left bud…

  • Reply Daniel Caliguire October 6, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Wes, thank you for being so real and giving us non veterans an up close and personal point of view. I work for where we help veterans transition out of the military into civilian life. We wold love to learn more about your story, you can inspire so many other veterans. Thank you.

  • Reply Steffen Holt November 3, 2015 at 8:08 am

    this man couldn't have said it better. seriously hits home to have someone say that they just want people to talk to them about their experience while deployed. exactly how i feel.

  • Reply tarou yamada December 14, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Nothing to do with the talk itself which I think is good , but I noticed that Japanese subtitle mistranslated 2.6 million Iraq and Afghan veterans into 2千6百万人(26 million veterans). 26 million. It is much bigger than population of New York !!

  • Reply Panda January 12, 2016 at 6:42 am

    But no, most of society only cares about what the Kardashians are up to.

  • Reply Astra 89 January 21, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I live on the other side of the planet, but I share the feelings of this officer.
    I would buy him a beer, if I could 🙂
    Unfortunately, modern society sees the word "war" as a picture of the TV news. People just do not care about each other. By this, I prefer to look at them through the scope.

  • Reply WarLord January 21, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Combat patch is on your right sleeve,dog but nonetheless hoah,fuckin' hoaaah!

  • Reply surfbum482 February 14, 2016 at 5:08 am

    This guy is an amazing public speaker

  • Reply E Andrews February 17, 2016 at 3:51 am

    Glad you made it home, Sir.

  • Reply Kevin FistMeDADDY February 24, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Rangers lead the way

  • Reply A Bmann February 24, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    although I condemn the act of war, this guy opened my eyes. Thank you for that

  • Reply Rayman March 9, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Thank you Wes Moore for this, love reading your books about your past greatly enjoyed this video and your books

  • Reply Pavel Mikhalkov March 18, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    You have 'Thank you for your service!' in the US.
    In Russia we have 'I didn't send you there!'

  • Reply Sinan Alay May 11, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Army officer kara subayı demek ordu görevlisi değil. Çeviren arkadaşa itafen

  • Reply Walleye Hunter May 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Thank You for your service Sir. Can I be of any service for you Sir?

  • Reply Alex Bukn June 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Regeneration (recovery) – The ability of living organisms over time to restore damaged tissue, and sometimes entire bodies lost.

    Changes in the genetic status of all organs of the body become healthy.
    Was removed the uterus and right ovary after the session regeneration's bodies, in two months the woman made sonogram curious what happened to her authorities it turned out that her organs regenerated…….Петров, регенерация органов.Петр Гаряев

  • Reply John Flores June 8, 2016 at 10:35 am

    A fantastic officer.

  • Reply Charlie Kaye June 12, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Be thankful people are "thanking you for your service". When we got back from Vietnam, we were told to hide our uniform and don't talk about the war or face being called murderers and baby killers. I'm just happy to see you guys getting warm welcomes this time.

  • Reply Zach Kahlig July 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    This has really opened my eyes to the sad reality of a lot of veterans returning from war and the little support they receive to get them back to their normal lives.

  • Reply TK 4594 October 1, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    This was incredible. He is so very poetic with this talk; especially at the end. As a fellow vet, it chokes me up a bit as I know the very feeling he's conveyed.

  • Reply Mr. Roman October 9, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I had my eyes opened.

  • Reply Swag Rodriguez October 10, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    He butthurt asf

  • Reply derherrwarth October 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Interesting. I acknowlidge the problem of homecoming vets and the superficial disputes they have to face. Still Mr Moore did not reflect the war critically enough in his talk. It is hard for me to feel pitty for the tools of such a deluded foreign policy.

  • Reply First Last October 20, 2016 at 4:27 am

    I hated the Military but now that I'm out I realize I miss the brotherhood I once overlooked. I miss the lifestyle of like minded individuals but I hate the ethics and politics.

  • Reply First Last October 20, 2016 at 4:32 am

    As a Veteran how can I help other veterans?

  • Reply ReviewTrumpUSA MAGA October 20, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Let me be the honest one here and say if you join the military NOT expecting to be in a war or be changed forever in some way, you are an idiot.

  • Reply The Dude November 1, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Combat patch is on your right shoulder, unit patch is on your left.

  • Reply RideGucci November 2, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Bro, i thank you very much

  • Reply Mike M November 5, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    this guy sucks at getting themes and messages across

  • Reply the vid November 22, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    thank you for youre speech

  • Reply RoadCasted December 6, 2016 at 8:20 am

    First time I felt handcuffs was when I was 23, but they were pink and fuzzy so I don't think it counts

  • Reply starving kid from africa December 8, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    you dont

  • Reply Nathaniel Serra December 12, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    contact me, every moment I can I sit down and talk so you all may come home. Nathan in Detroit, MI. This wash out waiting to finish what we started together, my ears and heart open. Find me Nathan Serra in Detroit area of Facebook. Please know you have brother waiting to help and listen to your story

  • Reply Torrence C December 20, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Got to meet him when i was in high school he autographed his book and he talked to our high school. I liked his speech then and this one.

  • Reply A K January 9, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Never say the asinine cliche "thank you for your service" it's just like the meaningless/hollow platitude your gym teacher used to say: "go out there and give 110%" . I find its much nicer to say to a vet: 'Thank you for not being a useless civilian slob". Trust me, this rings far more genuine.

  • Reply TAnimation channel February 13, 2017 at 5:02 am

    I remember once meeting a Vietnam vet at a action

    Being who I am I try to talk about guns, and I ask him if he had a shotgun and if he uses semi-action or pump-action.
    Guy told me semi's, I ask him why and he showed me his thumb was missing from his left hand.

    _He told me what few veterans ever say, their war stories
    A Vietnamese group was using little kids to trow grenades and ambush his troops, he lost his thumb blocking a grenade and was forced to either kill or be killed.

    A saw a look in his eye that I've seen to many times with my brother after he got back, the look that tells people "I've seen the evil in the world, and to fight it I had to become it"
    At that point I was shocked, but I stuck ought my right hand and said "Thank you for your service", his face smiled, knowing it wasn't all pointless bloodshed and knowing people appreciate the sacrifices of youth, mental health, limbs and worse of all possibly death.

    I've had plenty of friends and teachers that served, those rare occasions where I see them like that I don't know what to say or do, but I still thank people for their service because I've head what they've been trough. It's rough

    No one loves peace more than a soldier, because no one understands war like they do.

  • Reply Kit 1982 February 18, 2017 at 2:18 am

    I am not asking for anyone's "forgiveness". Understanding, patience, sure, forgiveness? No.

  • Reply Joseph McClung February 24, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    the soldier may leave the desert, but the desert does not leave the soldier.

  • Reply Edward Bowie March 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Unfortunate choice of example

  • Reply Madison Grace March 8, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    our social study teacher showed us this and it made 90 percent of the class cry. opened our eyes. amazing speech. showing to my family right now. thank you for this. truly amazing

  • Reply Ninja Sushi March 29, 2017 at 6:33 am

    So what was his MOS?

  • Reply m.0 1.d April 19, 2017 at 7:01 am

    dear guy who joined to pay his bills? is it tough to be an officer in the army?

  • Reply Bryan Wheelock May 31, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    I read The Other Wes Moore for school. Really great book.

  • Reply sirdeadlock June 19, 2017 at 2:03 am

    To me, "thank you for your service" means acknowledging that despite our civil mannerisms, the world is still a dangerous place; I am appreciating their being part of something bigger than themselves that is probably why I'm alive.
    I acknowledge that even the military doesn't want to need to fight. Non violent confrontation and respecting political boundaries is a big training point they have to emphasize. Butterfly wings and hornet nests.
    When I thank them, it's respecting that they put in the work to do the job that needed doing. It mattered. I care. I'm celebrating that they are right there in front of me.

  • Reply Digi Cherry July 10, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Tell the stories of the people that didn't manage to tell theirs. Happens for all armies around the world.

  • Reply AroundSun November 23, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Saying thank you for your sacrifice means more than service. service sounds like the ild lady giving out meals at the soup kitchen or giving out free lemonade to the children. the military and war is sacrifice, one that not many people are willing to make. you sacrifice your health and life yes, but more importantly your mind, your emotions, and your time. thats sacrifice.

  • Reply mrcatfish2100 November 26, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    War is bad period.

  • Reply TheInfantry98 January 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Fucking civilians will never understand it

  • Reply Jem Adventures On January 8, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you sir for your inspiration. It is at times more difficult than BCT and Iraq to figure out life back in the country we serve. Thank you for your voice fellow battle. It is good to see Officers speak also. We can do good in service to do well today as the US Army showed me in 2006 as I enlisted. Thank you for your contintued service out of uniform as well!

  • Reply Master Sergeant February 18, 2018 at 2:18 am

    I hurt everyday.

  • Reply Reed Byford March 10, 2018 at 5:24 am

    All of these disheartening and extremely unintelligent comments make me sick. My upmost respect goes to you and all veterans. I’ll soon be joining the Army infantry to follow in your footsteps.

  • Reply Schoko Keks March 14, 2018 at 8:23 am

    In Germany soldiers don't even get something like thank you for your service..

  • Reply John Summers March 20, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    He's not wrong. The vets that I know, while most of them don't like to talk about specifics of their service, appreciate when people care enough to ask about it. That said, don't ask a vet if they've ever killed someone. If they want to tell you that story, of which there will probably be many if they even tell you one, they will. I've only ever known one vet of the the Iraq war that was comfortable talking about his deployment. When you hear the things these men and women went through, you understand why so many are hesitant to talk about their war experience. When you hear a story about 4 Rangers that were far ahead of the rest of the forces and they had to hide from squads of troops or tanks and allow yourself to realize the utter terror of the situation as well as the thrill of it, you can get about 1% of an idea of what they went through. That's when you realize their original motivations or your own beliefs about war mean absolutely nothing. Thanking someone for doing something that you have no real idea of what you're thanking them for means almost nothing. Knowledge and context are always important for real gratitude.

  • Reply Kirstine Termansen March 29, 2018 at 11:02 am

    We have high standard but civil society pretty much as gang war
    So what's the best way, to explain I am born into service i am proud
    The moral in no war, but that's not allways the case

  • Reply Gun Nut May 23, 2018 at 12:25 am

    Wes says that saying "thanks for your service" isn't enough, meanwhile everyone in comments is saying "thank you for your service" to the veterans. Lmao

  • Reply Peace-Of-Mind June 13, 2018 at 8:43 am

    US military is mostly nothing but a communist paradise for most of soldiers. Civil life is much more dangerous and grim.

  • Reply Jeffrey Morton June 27, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    The best career going today is in the military, where there is absolutely no doubt about future job security! We'll be protecting the interests of rich international business on foreign soil for generations to come, and I encourage everyone eligible to enlist today! The alternatives are flipping burgers or pole dancing, so why not learn to kill or clean a latrine for Uncle Sam (Halliburton)?

  • Reply Chadwicked B July 1, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Nobody hires Vets!..That's why my Resume is FAKE!.

  • Reply KiLLeRHAnDs July 3, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    I joined to fight, 11b

  • Reply Joe H July 8, 2018 at 8:31 am

    This dude don't even know what side his combat patch goes on.

  • Reply Juanes O. September 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm


  • Reply mr oconnell September 22, 2018 at 12:56 am

    If you met a British vet. You would never know, this video is a bit American gay !

  • Reply ya boi big penis October 5, 2018 at 12:20 am

    Now that I'm out ,people always ask me if id killed anyone in iraq and I can never say yes because I feel too awkward and if I say yes they'd want to know all the details and i feel a rock in my stomach to think about now and how people would judge

  • Reply Eric Von Dumb October 7, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Ran into a fool walking out of the Blackhawk DFAC, back in 04. He was bitching that he never signed up for this bullshit. I asked this fool if they started the draft up again. He said, " Good point brother.". You mentioned T. Duckworth. I happened to retrieve her wing mans helo and deliver it back to base. Same damage. No mention of it in the papers. She's a dummycrate and I imagine so are you. You know how to talk to veterans after they come home? DON'T!!! They will talk about it when they feel ready. Listen with sympathy, knowing you will never know what they went through!

  • Reply john hopkins October 10, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    "thank you for your service"… "did you kill anybody?" save your yellow ribbons.

  • Reply kururu566 October 27, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    If the universities are free, will you not go to war and army?
    If you could live in any other job and have better life, will you not kill innocent civilians in the overseas countries?

  • Reply Joseph Calvosa November 3, 2018 at 4:56 am

    asked about Iraq. saying "it was hot, really hot". shallow answer for people who'd exploit what they assume an emotional experience for their own entertainment, Indulging morbid curiosities. To sample something hopefully horrid, terrifying, and painful vicariously of course . Veterans too often are treated like horror movies or thrill rides , great if you're in the mood, and otherwise ignored. A culture that generationally sacrifices its bravest most selfless and honorable becomes America today. Giving up more liberties everyday pleading for an assured saftey that can not be provided by anyone. Freedom for blood not saftey for slavery.

  • Reply David Black November 11, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Please sign my petition.

  • Reply Morgan Grey November 11, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    325 million people in the US….1% serve……..300,000 Veterans live on the street……VA Hospitals do the least amount of work so they can get bonuses,Veterans commit suicide at the rate of 2 an hour….Since 1976 the Military is an all volunteer force…….Thank you for your Service seems hollow now to me-US Navy Veteran

  • Reply MIDDLE east November 11, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    how many children have you killed already

  • Reply James R November 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Thank you, Wes for saying all that. Well said.

  • Reply Philip Restino November 26, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Thank You Is Not Enough

    By Philip C. Restino, Jr.
    We Are Change Central Florida
    Activist Post
    November 11, 2017

    “Freedom isn’t Free” means more than sending American troops off to war, it requires the participatory citizenship of Americans here at home.

    As it was with Vietnam, the War on Terror was a war of choice advocated for long before a political justification was introduced. Vietnam had its Gulf of Tonkin incident and the attacks of 9/11/01 brought us the 9/11 Wars. Investigative journalist Pepe Escobar’s “This war brought to you by” from 3/20/03 described how the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) had been lobbying since 1997 for wars in the Middle East and Asia. (see Retired General Wesley Clark was told by colleagues in the Pentagon just 9 days after the attacks of 9/11/01 that the upcoming War on Terror planned for the overthrow and regime change of 7 countries in 5 years (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran), as per the PNAC paper of September 2000. (see So far 5 of the 7 countries have been overthrown or destabilized, and Iran and Lebanon remain in the crosshairs of the current administration.

    The government’s official story concerning the Gulf of Tonkin incident proved to be a deliberate misleading of the American people. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution, passed just 3 days after the supposed attack on U.S. destroyers off the coast of North Vietnam, allowed the White House to wage war in Vietnam for the next 8 years until the American people had had enough of it. The Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed overwhelmingly by Congress 3 days after the attacks of 9/11/01, with no investigation and very little debate, also gave the White House a blank check to wage war on “terrorism” … a behavior, not a nation state … anywhere and on anyone on the planet it saw fit. The AUMF of 9/14/01 continues to this day to be the sole justification used for the ongoing 9/11 Wars. (see

    The “Masters of War” learned from Vietnam; next time do not impose a military draft, buy up and consolidate the media to control the messaging and reporting, and then get the entertainers and talking heads to celebrate anyone who wears a uniform as a “hero” for keeping us safe and protecting our “freedoms”. Let’s also remember Reich Marshall Hermann Goering’s statement at Nuremberg, “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” So any questioning or protest of our wars abroad risks being viewed by one’s fellows as not supporting our troops sent into harm’s way on what history has shown most often to be a lie. (see

    Until we the American people perform our own due diligence regarding the government’s “justification” for putting our troops into harm’s way, to include holding accountable to the fullest extent of the law those who have misled us into war, “thank you for your service” is not enough.

    Restino of Port Orange, FL is spokesperson for the Central Florida chapter of the national peace, truth and justice organization We Are Change. For more information, please visit or call (386) 788-2918.

  • Reply Jasir Tyr January 20, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    You know how many empires invaded Afghanistan before the united states? two. The british empire and the soviet union, and now the americans. Only the americans used the worst stupediest excuse to invade it which is to defend their homeland. Was the british good? No. Was the soviet good? No. Are the americans any good?!

  • Reply John Goodrich March 1, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Wes Moore, from one veteran to another, THANK YOU and well said.

  • Reply jonathan larcom June 29, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Hooooooah!!! props to a fellow VET who had their life changed by the military.

  • Reply John Niks July 4, 2019 at 7:55 am

    As a Veteran, you may leave the war zone, but the war never leaves you. As a Angolan war Veteran I Salute all Veterans, on all sides. We stood up when we were called, unlike the soft handed cowards in society, who expect the Few to protect them from criminals both on the streets and in the leftist PC culture swamp.

  • Reply The Jock July 9, 2019 at 10:46 am

    As a combat veteran, this is the most poignant and realistic interpretation of how it feels…

  • Reply Bra bra July 31, 2019 at 5:48 am

    Great speech, though, I'm sorry to say this, I see no service in invading other people's country for no reason.

  • Reply aaronmpeters26 August 6, 2019 at 2:15 am

    Im a combat veteran of the Iraq war and i can tell you about veterans. The reason you see them talking openly about it to other vets but not very much to others such as family or friends isnt because they "dont like talking about it". Its because only other veterans can relate to their stories. when a vet is using lingo you've never heard, talking about places you've never been to, and describing situations you know nothing about, then how are you supposed to react to that. you cant possibly relate to what they're talking about so whats the point to tell you about it. sure some of the exciting stuff is fun to talk about, the funny and scary stuff… but thats not how most days in war are. think about someone who is a master of their trade such as a master electrician, he doesnt come home and stay quiet about it because of some electrician ptsd….lol he doesnt talk about it because unless your an electrician too then you wouldnt be able to follow along with his stories….see what i mean.

    heres another thing id like to say about this video, i dont need your thanks and i dont expect it. i did it on my own accord. i do appreciate your consideration but i dont think you owe me anything. i didn't serve so that afterwards i could hold it over everyones heads to be worshipped or have my butt kissed by society.

    the best way to thank a vet is to offer them a (good paying) job

    I see a lot of reservists and some active carry around their vet status like its some kind of victim card where they can just pull it out and you should automatically treat them favorably in some manner like their "special" and i think thats bull crap. well adjusted vets are humble people, thank them by loving them and giving them a good job if your in a position to do so, the cocky ones need a reality check but its a phase they need to just grow out of

    these have been my opinions on the matter.

    oh, and i dont like professional victims like this dude in the video. seems to me that hes got this speech down to a science. he knows all the ques to stop and shake his head like an emotional pastor lecturing to everyone about something….its not my cup of tea. sick of these people on soap boxes with their victim card out explaining why everyone else should treat them like they're special.

  • Reply John Paul Pagobo August 9, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Can u imagine the things running in his head when he he sees a triggered soy boy?

  • Reply Brian Donnelly August 9, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    he's obv been vetted for a ted talk but rub the right(literally) shoulder for a combat patch

  • Reply V杰森 August 13, 2019 at 10:47 am

    peoples still believe in 911 was terrorist attack

  • Reply Alabaster August 14, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    You dont….you leve them alone BUT listen IF they want to talk abou it….

  • Reply beth 9891 August 23, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Very articulate speaker. Thanks for sharing your experience. My heart breaks for vets… traumatizing. Both over there and on return.

  • Reply Cool Guy August 31, 2019 at 4:40 am

    He is a good speaker. Respect for his service too

  • Reply William VanHook October 3, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Left the U S Army in '91, after 6 1/2 years of service. No intense action, but I still think in terms of soldier / civilian. I still identify as soldier. It took me over 6 years to finally accept that the civilian world did not have the hard and fast rules that I was used to. I can imagine how much harder it is for combat veterans. That brotherhood is why the motorcycle gangs were initially started by ww 2 veterans. They understood each other.

  • Reply Tavious Soul November 6, 2019 at 7:46 pm


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