Veteran by definition: one who has served in a military force, especially one who has fought in a war.
There is generations of young people around the world who have never had to live the life of a soldier. Never had the privilege of offering their lives to defend a moral code that is precious, defend their families from torture and death, their nation’s flag, to give their grandchildren something to live for and be with men – brothers in arms next to you whom you have trained with and will die for. Terrorists don’t count.
This may help you understand those of us that served in the Military.
We are the “Veterans”.
We left home as teenagers for an unknown adventure.
We loved our country enough to defend it and protect it with our own lives and our own blood.
We said goodbye to our friends and family and everything else we knew!
We learned the basics and then we scattered in the wind to the far corners of the earth.
We found new friends and new family.
We became brothers and sisters regardless of colour, race or creed.
We had plenty of good times, and plenty of really bad times.
We didn’t get enough sleep.
We smoked and drank far too much.
We picked up both good and bad habits.
We worked hard and we played even harder.
We didn’t earn a great wage!
We experienced the happiness of receiving mail and listening to Forces Favourites.
And, of course, the sadness of missing family & our important events.
We didn’t know when, or even if, we were ever going to see home again.
We grew up fast, and yet somehow, we never grew up at all.
We fought for our freedom, as well as the freedom of others.
Some of us saw actual combat, and some of us didn’t.
Some of us saw the world, and some of us didn’t.
Some of us dealt with physical warfare, most of us dealt with serious psychological warfare.
We have seen and experienced and dealt with things that we can’t fully describe or explain, as not all of our sacrifices were physical.
We participated in time-honoured ceremonies and rituals with each other, strengthening our bonds and our camaraderie!
We counted on each other to get our “job done” and sometimes to survive it all.
We have dealt with victory and tragedy.
We have celebrated and mourned.
We lost a few along the way.
When our adventure was over, some of us went back home, some of us started somewhere anew and some of us never came home at all.
We have told amazing and hilarious stories of our exploits and adventures.
We share an unspoken bond with each other, that most people don’t ever experience, and very few will understand!
We speak highly of our own branch of service and love to “poke fun” at the other branches!?
We know however that, if needed, we will be there for our brothers and sisters and stand together as one, in a single heartbeat.
Being a veteran is something that has to be earned, and it can never be taken away.
Your service has no monetary value, but at the same time it is a priceless gift!
People see a veteran and they thank them for their service.
When we see each other, we give that little upwards head nod or a slight smile, knowing that we have shared and experienced things that most people have not.
So, from myself to the rest of the veterans out there, I commend and thank you ALL for all that you have done and sacrificed for your beloved country.
Try to remember the good times and grow away from the bad times.
Share your stories.
But most importantly, stand tall and proud, for you have earned the right to be called a … “Veteran!”
Above all there is one that is greater – be a “Christian”; a veteran of the faith who live for eternal values.