With Veteran's Day right around the corner, why wouldn't I think they meant a "vet" in the military sense? Because no one "wants" to be a vet. Some people want to be soldiers. Some people want a military career. Heck, some people just want a job and the military is a good place to get one - 3 squares a day, a roof over your head, a uniform , and all the on-the-job training you can handle.
To be a vet, in the truest sense of the word, you need to have been in active military service and have involvement in and direct exposure to acts of military conflict. No one wakes up and says "hey, I feel like being in a military conflict today". Well, no sane person does. But thousands of people still sign up for a career that could thrust them into conflict at any time, and ask for the ultimate sacrifice - their life.
It's a little crazy. I mean, if my employer said "Hey, we want you to come analyze the financial results of our mega-sized global IT company, and, oh by the way, if we feel like it, we could send you off to Brazil to fight IBM." I think I'd be opting for underemployed CPA or hausfrau.
Regardless of the insanity, I'm glad someone does it. I don't want to get all political about what conflicts we should be in or not - sure it was easier when the Japanese were bombing the crap out of Hawaii and were a mere hours from our continental coastline or the Germans were off gassing Jews by the millions. But we choose to have a military in this country, and we have brave people who line up to put their lives on the line at a moment's notice when our elected officials determine we need to be involved in a conflict.
So as we approach this Veteran's Day, without commentary on the politics behind which conflicts we get involved in, here's to:
- My dad, for building bridges in Korea in 1950
- My uncle, for his time in Vietnam
- My husband, for his medical talents in Iraq
- My sister in law, stationed in Afghanistan as we speak
- My countless friends who have served or are serving
- Many more friends who could easily be tapped any day to do the same
Hat's off to your sacrifice, and may you find your way back safely to your friends and family when your service is done.
May we remember the few who did not make it back.