I was working on Veteran’s day. Driving across this great land of ours to shoot a television commercial. Worked the “day” job and then left to drive four hours to another state where we were going to shoot the commercial overnight in a closed sporting goods store. You do these things at three in the morning because it’s a major pain to the store and would completely disrupt the conduct of business. Cords, fat guys in red suits, lighting, cameras, assistants, craft services (food), trucks in the lot with all the gear. You tear the store up, set the scene, shoot the scene, and then tear it down before they open the next day. Ah, the magic of television. Once the commercial airs, I’ll give a link to it for you to watch. But it’s the stuff long days are made of and all actors live for in secret.
Now, to a previous persona I’ve had: veteran.
Let’s watch this video by Terry Kelly called A Pittance of Time first:
Yes, I did notice that it was Canadian Forces. But the simple fact is they celebrate the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month for the same reason we do. I feel a strong kinship with veterans of all armed forces for that reason.
Veteran’s day, to me, is more than a free meal. It’s a good day to think on the utter blessing that military service was to me. I was able to serve my nation. We defeated a great evil in the Soviet Union. I learned skills that still hold me in a job to this day. I learned about leadership, loneliness, struggle, joy, hard work, danger, and beer.
I don’t think of myself as an old man some times. I think of my friends in the military and we are forever frozen in our twenties. God, thank you for that set of memories. We’re all getting old, our generation is starting to die out from heart disease, cancer, suicide, and whatever else. But I will always remember the tang of salt air, the rush of exhaust gasses from the stack of a cruiser going in harm’s way, the sound of the diving horn, the roar of a catapult as a fully loaded A-6 roared off toward a hostile shore just six feet over my head, shared meals over an eighth of a mile underwater, the sound of the band in bars across Italy, the practical jokes on the new people, and the sweet taste of my wife’s lips after I’d been gone from home for far too long.
That’s what Veteran’s day means to me: my youth. I will grow old and die, but what I did for those five years serves my nation to this day. We are old and gray, but our memories will be of skinny young people in the prime of life.
I thank all of you who served. I think you know what I’m talking about. I remember the fallen as well, but I hold a special day for them in the spring: Memorial Day. This day, Veteran’s Day, is one of quiet joy for me.
Thank you for coming alongside my ship today to resupply on words. Now, emergency break away.
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