April 2024
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Thought To Ponder: What Is A Veteran?

Veterans Day is coming up on November 11th here in the United States.

Many Saigon Kids are Veterans or have/had Veterans in their family and amongst their friends.

I was sitting here pondering:

What is a Veteran?

When this came to mind.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America” for an amount up to and including their life.

What is a Veteran to you?

Please leave your answer in the Comments below.


7 comments to Thought To Ponder: What Is A Veteran?

  • Mike McNally

    Bob, Amen to that noble thought on Veterans Day. As an ex-military guy, I consider the Saigon Kids who were there with their families to be honorary vets. The dependents were in harm’s way to be near their parents. Some of them, like Michael Bell (Babylift crash, 4 Apr 1975) paid with their lives…Mike

  • Kevin L. Wells

    To me, a Veteran is just a brother (or sister) by another mother.

    My attitude was formed in 1968 when two (very large) guys made sure I got back on the bus safely at the old Port Authority Bus terminal near Times Square. In 1968, wearing a uniform in that neighborhood was an invitation to get rolled. I made that bus back to Ft Dix without getting so much as scratched. They would not even let me pay for my coffee and apple pie.

    Ever since then, no younger Veteran eats or drinks in my presence and pays for it.

    This sort of thing has been going on for hundreds of years.

    If you are a Veteran, pass it.


  • Suellen Oliver Campbell

    Daughter of a veteran (32 years in U.S. Navy) and wife of a Viet Nam vet (1968-69.)One man gave me life, the other has made my life.
    God bless all the veterans, but especially the ones in my life.

    • jim turnbull

      Suellen, I just signed up for the website. I live in Lititz, Pa. Married with Three grown Sons and a Grand daughter. I have fond memories of my time in Saigon. My address at home is turnbullwill [@] hotmail.com. Hope all is well with you and your family. God Bless.

  • Robert Pollock

    A related question: what does it mean to be a patriot?

    What it means is fairly simple; it is to owe a patrimony to those who came before you, which you must repay to those who come after.

    John Schaar’s wrote an essay, ‘The Case for Patriotism’:

    To be a patriot is to have a patrimony; or, perhaps more accurately, the patriot is one who is grateful for a legacy and recognizes that the legacy makes him a debtor. There is a whole way of being in the world, captured best by the word reverence, which defines life by its debts; one is what one owes, what one acknowledges as a rightful debt or obligation. The patriot moves within that mentality. The gift of land, people, language, gods memories, and customs, which is the patrimony of the patriot, defines what he or she is.

    We encounter people in our daily lives who embody that debt – who have lived it, shed blood for it, bled for it themselves, and wept over those who died for it.

    So thanks, veterans. Thanks soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen. Thanks for doing your jobs and I hope you all come home healthy and whole, every one of you.

  • Sarah J Rogers

    Lovely thoughts one and all. Thank you to my father- a veteran of WWII and all the veterans everywhere, and especially all of “ours” that served in Vietnam, a country near and dear to our hearts.

  • frank

    Robert, I substitute taught for JROTC for three months. OOhoowah! When I stared on August 4th, I was very apprehensive. It turned out to be a great experience. I brought back memories about all the wonderful times I spent in the military … and not the negative. Seeing the young people doing their PT and D&C was an inspiration to me! Politics was not the game…. but honor, duty, country! I worked for a CSM. Someone asked me how it felt for a Major to work for a CSM? I told him a Major always worked for a SGM. HA! I remembered how proud I was to become a Marine Corporal in just 11 months. How I became a Marine Sergeant before I got out after four years. How I became an Army 2nd Lieutenant at 32 years old….I guess I was behind the eight ball ..but at the time I thought I was on top of the world!

    My oldest daughter sent me the following (I debated in my mind whether to send this…Oh well! as they say in the Marine Corps, “What the HELL!”):
    “I am so grateful for the strong man that you have been for our family. You are the rock that has allowed us to fly out on our own – knowing we could always lean on you. You are such a great example of what it means to be an American. Love you tons! Happy Veterans day!

    I posted this on my FB today for all to read – Si wrote some of it a while ago. I copied it. and put the bw pic and 2009 pic of the place you were stationed in Vietnam.

    “Going back to Vietnam was very emotional for my dad. Not only did he live there as a kid but he was stationed there during the War. In an area near Da Nang, he went looking for one of the places he was stationed – Searching based on memory and a few old photos. My dad took the bw photo in 1967. The other photo my brother took of my dad in 2009. i love my dad so much, for all that he has done, and all the that he is, the greatest father a daughter could have. Hug a Vet!”

    Have a Great Day!

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