On July 25, I helped my husband set up for a Veteran’s lunch at our county fair. He is the director for county’s Veteran’s services, so this is one of his big outreach events. I worked the registration table and got to see every single person (all 230+ of them) who came to the luncheon.
The event was to begin at noon, but true to form Veterans started arriving a little after 1000 hours (10 a.m. for you civilians). Veterans are taught in basic training that it is a big fat NO NO to be late for anything, so be early. This sticks with them their whole lives so this is why it is uncommon to see a former military member late for anything.
Checking in all those Veterans, many of whom had their spouses with them, reminded me how diverse the military population is. I saw lots of Vietnam Veterans with hats on that said so. I saw female Veterans, and when my assistant and I tried to give them a flag pin that the spouses were supposed to receive, whoa. Lesson learned: Don’t assume that just because she is a woman that she is the spouse. I saw a World War II former POW with his devoted brother, also a WWII Veteran, by his side. Some Veterans looked like retired businessmen, with pressed clothes and polo shirts, other Veterans looked less fortunate but thankful for the meal and the camaraderie the event would bring. There were young Veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, toting their young wives and children. And everything in between.
Our country is blessed to have such a varied group of people with one thing in common: They served their country with pride. Thank you, Veterans!
Claudia Bartow served in the Army National Guard for nine years and the Air National Guard for one year. She also runs the website, www.yourmilitarystory.com. Claudia is a middle school Social Studies teacher and heavily involved in local Veterans’ organizations.