Thank You for Your Service

POETRY FORMAT, 19 Jun 2023

Caitlin Johnstone - TRANSCEND Media Service

Daniel Ellsberg (1931-2023)
Oil on canvas by Caitlin Johnstone

18 Jun 2023

Thank you for your service.

I say this not to the employees of the war machine, who in truth serve nothing besides imperial domination and the profit margins of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

I say this to the peacemakers.
To the truth-tellers.
To the defiant ones.
To those who’ve shone the light of truth upon the blood-spattered face of the empire against their own interests for the benefit of everyone.
To those who’ve stared down the barrel of the most powerful military force ever assembled and said “Do your worst.”
To the grandparents who’ve been dragged from nuclear weapons protests in handcuffs to create a safer world for their grandchildren.
To the activists whose incurable disobedience has led them to disrupt empire managers at think tank conferences or paint NO WAR across the face of the Sydney Opera House.
To the selfless martyrs who’ve exposed the abuses of the machine knowing full well that the scales of justice are weighted heavily against them.
To the hero in Belmarsh.
To the Pentagon Papers whistleblower who today closed his gentle loving eyes for a final time.

Thank you for your service.
For serving the highest interest over your own.
For pouring everything you’ve got into the hope for a better tomorrow.
For betting everything on the hope of a healthy and harmonious world.
For creating a guiding light to help humanity steer its way home.
For seizing your moment to help make things right instead of letting it pass like everyone around you.
For somehow finding the strength to swim against the current when it would be so much easier to drift along with the madness.
For somehow finding a higher calling in this wildly dysfunctional society where everything is pointed at selfishness and meaninglessness.
For somehow cultivating something profound and authentic within yourself in the midst of a civilization of the vapid and fraudulent.
For doing your very best to get a foot on the brake pedal when everything else is accelerating toward the cliff’s edge.
For listening to that small voice within which can tolerate no more.
For turning around.
For taking your stand.
For finding the courage.
For doing what is right.
For putting truth first.
For lighting the way.

Thank you for your service.
We will do our best to carry the torch forward, and finish what you started.


Listen to a reading of “Thank You For Your Service” (reading by Tim Foley):


Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Contact:


Daniel Ellsberg was a former US military analyst who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers, which revealed how the US public had been misled about the Vietnam War. He passed away on 16 Jun 2023. RIP


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