If “to be or not to be” is the question, then the answer is definitely to be! I think I have a pretty good track record of accepting who I am regardless of where I’m at, what I’m doing or who I am with. As I reflected this week trying to remember if there was a time that I went a stray and the only one worthy of sharing is inline with the U.S Memorial Day holiday tomorrow.
If you haven’t visited my About Me page, you won’t necessarily know that I served in the U.S. Army. I served for almost two full years under former President Bill Clinton. For official military record purposes the years I served, 1997 to 1999 fall under the ‘Gulf War‘ classification. Now that you have the background information, my story should make more sense.
In the past, especially after 9/11, when asked “did you serve in Iraq or Afghanistan?” my response was always “No, I served under Clinton – so just during peace-time.” When asked how long I served, my response was a monotone “just two years.” Several years ago, I was asked these questions by a couple of my fellow American Legion members and gave my standard responses, they asked me a follow-up question, “are you proud and honored to be a veteran?” I, of course said yes and they pointed out to me that by including the word ‘just’ in my answers, I was belittling my time in the military. Until that moment, I never even thought about how that could sound to someone else or how that choice reflected how I felt about having served. While I was lucky enough to serve during peace-time, I still made a choice to serve, the same as anyone does when they sign-up. I may not be a war veteran but I am very proud to be a veteran and appreciate the opportunities that I’ve been given in return. I have accepted that I am a veteran, who served two years states side and I can truly say, it has been the best decision I’ve ever made because I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I would be remiss if I don’t mention the respect that I have for all the current military personnel as well as my fellow veterans. The experiences we’ve shared connect us to one another so when we lose someone among our ranks, we not only owe them respect, they deserve our respect because of the sacrifices they’ve made.
Please take a minute out of your day to remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms.