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Happy Veterans Day
A PSA from a cranky old vet.
Happy Veterans Day from your friendly, cranky old gamer vet.
I enlisted into the US Air Force at 17. I was still in high school and had no real options after graduation. I was fortunate that my recruiter was a straight shooter. He laid out how every step over the next year and up to my arrival at basic training would unfold. We had locked in what my job would be long before I got to Lackland AFB. And every month over my senior year of high school, he got all the delayed entry recruits together for outings. Thanks, Alan.
It feels like an entire whole other life I had. Living abroad in several countries, amazing new friends, and a new global perspective. I’m a kid from Hoboken, NJ, circa 1970 - dancing in the streets of Paris, eating grilled lamb in Spain and going to war. Mr. Crane, Public School #14. You were wrong.
“Thank you for your service.” I get it, but it’s weird. I didn’t do it for you or the millions of Americans I don’t know. I went for college money; to get away from my folks, and I was short on options. I stayed for the friends and experiences I made. I learned about teamwork, leadership, hard calls, and sacrifice. I’d do every second of it again. Maybe we can say: Thanks, what did you enjoy most? What did you find hardest? Ask me how I’m doing, am I ok.
On Veterans Day, we honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces, acknowledging their sacrifice, courage, and dedication to preserving freedom. Freedom has a price. While progress has been made in supporting veterans' reintegration into civilian life, we have lots of challenges still. Mental health, access to healthcare, housing, and employment opportunities remain areas of concern. We must continue to prioritize comprehensive support systems, fostering a country where veterans receive the care and recognition they deserve. Gratitude for their service should extend beyond ceremonies to tangible, ongoing support for veterans.
When I mustered out, I remember stepping off the plane in NY from Amsterdam. I felt like I just got kicked out of heaven, like Nicholas Cage standing on the beach in City of Angels, now mortal. I teamed up with another new vet friend in Kansas City, and we helped each other figure out what’s next. I was fortunate; we both were. I have friends who didn’t make the jump back to the ‘world,’ and I still miss them.
Ask your local VA and social service folks how you can help move the needle. Thank you for caring.
That’s my Veteran PSA. Now, I have a weekend of free and discounted meals to get up on!