Veteran for real…

I was sitting on my lunch break today flipping through some Facebook posts on my phone. Weird how life has turned into that instead of being able to have a group of friends to go hang with in actual real life. Anyways, I caught myself in a weird movie-like situation where everyone around me seemed to stand out in a way that I haven’t experienced in quite a while. I was sitting in the the food court of a pretty ritzy mall where there’s either people with a lot of actual money, or people who put on a facade of having a lot of money. Young, old, in between… Doesn’t matter. I then saw a guy in a Navy uniform walk through. Why he made it to Fashion Island in his uniform I can only assume, but it reminded me of my experience in the Atlanta Airport as I was fresh out of basic training. Everyone in the airport stood up and clapped when a group of returning soldiers walked through the atrium. As I saw this guy in uniform walk in the mall today, I might have been able to pick out two people total who even gave him a second look. No one stood up, no one went out of their way to thank him, quite honestly, except for a few older folks there today, no one really cared that he was there.

Right as I saw this, I came across a picture on someone’s post about one guy in a wheelchair standing up when the colors passed in a parade. Everyone around him in the picture was still sitting. It gave me a bit of the chills. I’m becoming more and more aware of the un-need of war and military might, but unfortunately we are in a state of affairs in humanity where it’s not going away anytime soon. That being said, every person who has stood up and given their life to this country so we can enjoy what we have should be treated with absolute respect and admiration (except of course, for you naysayers, the ones who do wrong).

Right or wrong for any of the reasons we have to go to war, truth of the matter is there is a LOT of people out there who have offered their life so we can live in a much safer world. And just because someone has joined the military doesn’t make them a war monger.

I have my own views on being a veteran. I am fortunate to not have to deal with physical or emotional ailments from experiencing the combat environment. Many aren’t so lucky. Even the ones who can’t quite claim this new-fangled PTSD diagnosis, have some pretty dark demons that sneak up on them. Whether you are deployed to combat as a cook or a front line infantry-man, you have a right to be proud of what you sacrificed. Coming home should never give you the impression that you fought for nothing. I will never ever put it to argument against someone that I’m a veteran but so many times I’ve asked myself, ‘Is this what I offered to die for?’ It’s no wonder so many veterans are in the state of affairs they are in. I don’t blame em’.

The appreciation given on veterans day is great. It really is. As a veteran I can say though, this bumper-sticker mentality from a lot of isn’t fooling me. I don’t want any recognition or special treatment and that isn’t the idea of what I’m trying to say. What I’m trying to say is people need to be personally accountable for everything that happens around us, especially those who haven’t done a damn thing to give back to their community or country or even mankind in general. Make a veteran proud of what they fought for. Make a veteran proud of what they missed while sent away to foreign lands too many times. Make a veteran never ever question if what they did was the right thing.

I wish I could write about being a veteran but I almost feel inadequate realizing that the click-and-share society has already beat me to the warm and fuzzy things that can be said about the real heroes around us.


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