As I’ve aged, I’ve developed more of an appreciation for our military veterans.
I don’t know why, exactly?
Maybe it’s because, with my childhood Life plans having failed, due to my leg disability, I was unable to join the largest, least-exclusive club in the World (Service Veterans). And I’ve been able to observe, albeit from a distance, the brotherhood, camaraderie and sacrifice imbued in those men and women.
On previous Veterans Days (when I was employed) I made it a point to walk around on break and shake hands of those I knew had served and say “Thank You!” I know it’s not much, especially for persons my age who returned from Vietnam and were denounced as war criminals and spat-upon. And the Korean War Vets who were (and are) pretty much largely ignored by the media.
I was accompanying my roommate to another of her doctor’s appointments on November 11 this year, and there was an older guy (my age?) with the jacket and cap, embroidered with his service particulars. I didn’t see what they were. I made a point to walk over to him and shake his hand. It was the very least I could do.
After her appointment, J. wanted to get a bite-to-eat, so we stopped at a restaurant we sometimes frequent. And before our meal arrived, in walked another veteran. Also with an embroidered cap and patched jacket. Significantly older. A larger man, with silver hair. With his wife.
After they were seated and had placed their orders, I got up and walked over to them. I excused myself, apologized for interrupting, and explained I just wanted to thank him for his service. He smiled, shook my hand vigorously, and his wife beamed.
Then I saw the identifying patch on his sleeve.
I left hurriedly back to our table, so he wouldn’t see me cry.