Veteran's day is coming up very soon, so I thought I'd ask this simple question. Are you a Veteran?
I'm a veteran. I served in the USAF from 1973 to 1977. I never saw combat and my life was never really at risk. Still, I am proud of the fact that I dropped out of High School and joined the military during an unpopular war.
There are those who think that in order to be considered a real veteran that you must have been shot at, but I reject that idea. To me a veteran is anyone who served in the armed forces of their nation because hey thought it was the right thing to do. A veteran is also a person who was drafted and didn't flee from that call, but rather did it anyway. A veteran is a combat soldier who stormed the beaches of Normandy, but a veteran is also the troop that served in a weather station on an Aleutian island and was never shot at. A veteran is a Navy sailor that faced down the attack on Midway and perhaps gave his life. However a veteran is one of the many people who worked in intelligence who realized that Midway was to be an attack point for Japan.
A veteran is the accounting clerk who ran the numbers that made sure combat troops got paid their proper salary. A veteran is the person who typed up the letters telling a combat troops loved ones that their loved one was dead. They are veterans too.
I'm a veteran in the sense that I never saw combat, but was an important link in the nuclear mutually assured destruction of the 1970's. I never fired a shot in combat, but I was ready to do my duty to help launch 1,500 warheads on ICBMs and knew the bombing targets of an entire B52 Bomb Wing. That makes me a veteran too.
So, November 11th is coming up. Veterans day. So are you a veteran or not? If not, how do you feel about veterans? Do you think only those who faced death are veterans? Talk to me.