Khalil Dukes

Spoiler Alert

For those of you who like war movies, ‘Thank You For Your Service’ was not a call of duty, civil war, action-packed, army warfare film. In fact, it was the total opposite. Based on a true story about a 5-soldier unit, only 4 of the veterans return home to their families. Mourning the death of their brother, these 4 men are experiencing a severe case of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and are also having suicidal thoughts. 

As you get to know these four veterans in the film, viewers are also introduced to their beautiful families. The film helps you quickly realize that these veterans are regular people, human beings just like us – who love and are loved. Getting to know the veterans and their families is a heartwarming experience, from their brotherhood from battle to their daddy and husband duties. But this is not at all a happy film. 

After one veteran of the four commits suicide (shoots himself in the head), only three of them remain. In fear of losing their own lives, two of them seek help from veteran army support programs. However, the veterans discover that receiving their veteran benefits and getting treatment for their PTSD and suicidal thoughts is nearly impossible. They find out that there are hundreds of thousands of veterans who are trying to get treatment for their PTSD and are receiving little to no help. In one scene, they were informed that they would be on hold for 6-8 months before they can be evaluated or helped. 


Okay, so – veterans are making it home from war to their loved ones and basically want to kill themselves everyday, and are being told not to pull that trigger their holding to their head every night for a least half a year? Are you kidding? And worse, one of the veterans in the film can’t receive his benefits because he was not born in America, and received his U.S. citizenship in training (for the army). Wait. You mean to tell me this guy put his life on the line for our country, survived, made it home in one piece, and can’t receive any benefits of any sort because he was not born in America? That made me so upset.


These veterans have wives, children, and for some of them that’s all they have after losing a leg, an arm, an eye or ear, or for most of them their mind from fighting in war. They can’t receive any benefits? Any free medication? Any post-war training? Nothing? That’s how we repay those who risk their lives trying to protect ours? This was very disturbing to me. Being an African-American myself, it’s almost frightening because as a minority you would think only those who don’t look American or aren’t “white” are treated different throughout various events and situations of their lives. But this film showed me that their own kind, Americans but Army Veterans who represent the red, the white and the blue mistreat even White Americans.

Despite all this, the film does end on a good note, and does show the real veteran characters from this true-story film. It was good to see them and the families doing well, but it was not okay realizing that our government not only mistreats minorities, but also it’s veteran army members. Supporting the “kneeling during the national anthem” thing was a little unsettle for me before seeing this film. Refusing to honor the flag that represents those who fought for our lives is in fact disrespectful. As an African-American, even i agree with that. To me, government puts something in place, we go through with it whether it is right or wrong.

As a minority, that’s how we are raised. We just, find a way to grind through things. But now, I feel different. If the government isn’t honoring our veterans the right way, why should they get upset when we don’t? Minorities aren’t kneeling for the veterans, but for equality. Yet, we can’t give benefits to the veterans that are keeping us alive, protecting and serving our country?

That just, is not right to me.


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