Tomorrow is Veterans Day. Unlike Memorial Day, which is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the service of our country, Veterans Day is the day set aside to honor all veterans, living or dead.
I’m a veteran and, even though while in service, I did my fair share of bitching about being in the military, today I realize that I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve, and I am a better person because of it. By cutting off your hair, putting you in a uniform, and treating you as just one of many who has to make do under difficult and aggravating circumstances, the military teaches you in short order that the world does not revolve around you. The Army also provided me with the grit to tolerate and overcome things that were difficult and which I hated at the time. These are lessons that have served me well in civilian life.
In addition, there is something about having served in the military that creates an instant kinship with others who have served. It transcends race, creed, educational level and socioeconomic class, and it lasts a lifetime. Overwhelmingly, my friends today are men who served in the military during the Vietnam War. Today, some are firemen and police officers, truck drivers and mechanics, while others work at various jobs in industry or for the government. None of that matters, for we all share something more basic, and that is that, at one point in our lives, we all were soldiers, sailors, marines or airmen, and that cuts us from the herd. And, to a man, we’re proud of what we did and have great affection and respect for one another. Quite simply, we’re friends in the truest sense of the word.
So on this Veterans Day, I salute them and all of the other men and women who have worn the uniform in service of the country.