A war veteran is any GI (Government Issue) ordered to foreign soil or waters to participate in direct or support activity against an enemy. The operant condition: Any GI sent in harm’s way.
A combat veteran is any GI who experiences any level of hostility for any duration resulting from offensive, defensive or friendly fire military action involving a real or perceived enemy in any foreign theater.
You can look in many books, online or in a newspaper article to find many definitions but words cannot describe what a Veteran truly is. A co-worker of mine recently attended a fundraiser to help Veterans and as I struggled for a weekly blog this week, all of a sudden it seemed clear what I should write about.
A Veteran is not just a person who signs up to join one of our great military branches. They are not just people who wear cool uniforms or gets a discount in local stores. They are not just people who get a great insurance program or someone honored on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the eleventh hour of the year. They are not just people for whom we can thank for the day off from work or people who get to wear a cool metal necklace that chimes on a windy day.
A Veteran is someone to whom you can thank for your comfortable life. When you lay your head down at night and there is silence, thank a Veteran who has slept under a tank and fallen asleep to the sound of gunfire. When you enjoy the holidays thank a Veteran who spent so many of them away from their families in foreign lands. When you take an effortless walk down the hall to your kitchen to pour a cup of coffee, thank a Veteran who has lost their limbs. When you complain about the weather, thank a Veteran who has stood a post in soaking wet clothes. When you head to lunch, thank a Veteran who may not have food. When the National Anthem is played, think about a Veteran who lived through unimaginable situations so you could feel secure in knowing that the freedoms you enjoy are fearlessly protected by those willing to sacrifice everything for you.
Today isn’t about insurance, cookouts, shopping for holiday gifts, or decorations for the house. It’s about the real people who served this country, some who gave the ultimate sacrifice, in ways that we can never imagine for rights and liberties that we all for granted at times. Today when you see a Veteran say thank you even if they are a stranger, they will understand what it means and believe me, they will appreciate it.