I found these videos while trolling a veterans group on Facebook. Watch them and we’ll resume.
I get choked up when I see this kind of thing in the media. I’m no hero, but I’ve served with them. I’m not wounded but I’m damaged. I’m proud of my experience and marvel at that of others. Most of all, I’m part of the family that put on the uniform.
For years I’ve tried to get the tab when I know it’s a fellow vet or active duty member. I’ve also handed out dozens of business cards with my personal cellular number. I tell them, “If you need to talk, this thing’s on 24×7. Especially in the dead of night.”
Just knowing that you can talk to someone helps immensely. Knowing that you’re not alone is such a huge part of being a good battle-buddy (a term that evolved long after my time, but I like it in this context.) We all need that connection. It’s vital to all of us.
I recently made a new friend. Another vet. Another squid (naval type) with a lot in common with me. We sat up in a bar until 0200 talking that first night. And repeated it the next. We’d not served together. We didn’t even serve during the same era. But in a twinkling we knew so much about each other. Instantaneous link formed. I talk to them a couple of times a week. Sometimes twice in a day. I marvel at that shared bond.
Today, when you go out and about, keep an eye peeled for veterans. Don’t just see us on November 11th each year. You don’t have to pick up the tab, or even say a word. Just a smile. A tip of the hat. Or a business card with your number if you’re already a member of the tribe.
You are not alone. We are all here to support each other if we’ll just let it happen.