Veteran’s Day gets a lot of notice and airplay these days, but with memories of Viet Nam clearly in people’s minds, it was mostly an invisible holiday, mainly devoted to yard work and maybe a few sales.
With 9/11, Veteran’s day became more visible, and a little weirder. People have certain expectations as to what a veteran, a soldier, a warrior or hero looks like. It might be the elderly gentleman with the WWII hat. Maybe the biker. Or the 18-year-old kid with the confident bearing, and the short haircut.
Certainly not a Starbucks-sipping mom in a minivan.
But I found that our at church when the priest asked all the veterans to stand, and half a dozen moms awkwardly stood up and exchanged looks of embarrassment and surprise. I was one of those moms.
I was stationed at the Pentagon, and worked rotating shifts in the communications center, and was assured that I would have no roommates. I came back from a 2-month TDY in San Antonio (defending our nation by learning to repair a new type of communications equipment) (drinking Margaritas and learning to two-step) and found that in my absence, I had been issued a roommate. She wasn’t there when I arrived, but on her night stand was a picture of red-haired girl with her dad and a 10-point buck. Needless to say, we got along.
The military has always attracted all sorts, including at least two mid-western farm girls, looking for freedom, adventure, and paid college tuition. And I’d like to thank everyone out there for that opportunity.