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A View From The Field Essay

787 words - 3 pages

Recently I was asked what Veteran's Day meant to me. Veteran's Day means a lot to some, a little to others, nothing to many, and is often confused with Memorial Day by most. Veteran's Day was created to honor the brave men and women, who have served their country, past and present-a National holiday, pretty straightforward. Yet for many, this day offers a different perspective and reality. While it is a day to honor those men and women who served in this nation's military, it is how the veteran perceives this day that might surprise those who, for one reason or another, never wore their country's uniform.For some its having looked death in the eye, stared it down like a lion to its prey and walked away from battle forever changed. Some were never called to battle but they were standing at the ready should they be called upon.There are two distinct groups of veterans: those who served a tour in the military and then left to pursue civilian life, and those who chose the military as a profession and remained until retirement. While service to one's country can often be a life-altering event for either group, I have found that it is the military retiree whose metamorphosis is most complete. Those who serve and elect to return to civilian life are still basically who they were before they entered military service. There are exceptions of course, but those who return to civilian pursuits are once again the teacher, the mechanic, the professional business person and easily integrated back into society as a member of a civilian community. The person that retires from active duty has no such identity, very rarely has ties to any civilian community and has learned a hard lesson that you make but very few close friends in the military. He is best defined not by who he was as a civilian but what he did in the military. It is the common thread that binds us all into that band of brothers that have stood for and with each other through indescribable experiences that defy understanding by those who were not witness to those events. The more elite and demanding the units in which the retiree served, the greater the loss of his connection to civilian identity because there is just no parallel personal or professional civilian category...

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