I was abruptly reminded today of what being a Veteran really is. Depression, Pride, Anguish, Resentment, Confusion…
Google all the heartwarming and tear-jerking stories you want… it doesn’t really get rid of what lives inside us once we’ve experienced it.
No matter what kind of story you can tell about your time in, every vet holds their experiences near and dear to their heart. My experience was less of fighting the enemy, and more of how war really changes the human spirit. On both sides.
However stupid war is… and trust us Vets, war is pretty fuckin stupid, there is something to be said about someone who will place their life on the line for something they believe in. To see the barely 17 year old who never has to worry about getting in trouble for not shaving, to the 98 year old who can be brought to his knees at the sound of taps is not to be taken lightly. Everything in between holds just as much value.
Living in Southern California isn’t really the place you go to feel patriotic. Sure, you see some of those ‘support the troops’ things, but it’s usually part of someone’s marketing plan. It’s even part of the personal ‘marketing’ for some. (That last line was motivated by seeing a shit-bag specialist show up in uniform on a Sunday to a venue for dining and drinking.)
I don’t really care if people know I’m a veteran, or what my experiences have given me. No one really cares except for my brothers and sisters who stood toe-to-line with me. I will never ask for special treatment because of what I chose to do. I will never take advantage of a fellow veteran, and I will never disrespect what a veteran works so hard to attain.
This is rambling, I know. maybe someone, somewhere will read it and feed the knowledge that it will never be easy to fit back in to reality when nothing ever seems to be the way it was before. No matter how many years have passed, it can all be brought back in a flash when one, little, thing brings you back down.