It has been almost 30 years since I was on active duty. I made about 8K/year back then. It seemed like a lot. I was a Navy Corpsman.
A few years later I married the Army. My ex was a lifer. An army Nurse who went to Iraq, earned the Bronze Star – she was no freaking joke. But by then our marriage was over – but not the respect I had for what she was doing.
I had the kids, she had the country.
I had the better deal. We are almost a decade later, and we share the kids. And they are not kids – they are both in college. We raised kids together, even though apart, in amazingly hard times for our [military] family. This is what a military family does. They sacrifice. They deal with shit.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for what my ex-wife did. What my fellow medics did 20+ years earlier. What friends of mine are still doing today. Who my ex-wife is today.
I am proud to be a Veteran. This year, last year, and next year. Nothing can take away from that experience.
I can never not be a Veteran. It is part of what defines me, just as it was part of what raised me. And I am a better person for it.
To all of the Veterans who cannot make a blog post today – you have my respect.