Does a military service member have to experience combat or be part of a life-risking mission to earn the title Veteran? Is it fair to compare the sacrifice of veterans by service branch, by deployments or the number of years of service? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your definition of who is a military Veteran. Send your response by November 9th so I can publish your answers on Veterans Day.
In a blog entry for the VA blog VAntage, Navy Veteran Alison Derr explains why she’s a little uneasy being called a Vet after four years at sea.
Alison Derr: The Definition of a Veteran
There are very few words that catch me quite like “Veteran”. It’s such a short word, but in today’s world, it means so much and identifies a person in just seven letters. Yesterday, I attended a local job fair that I thought was just for Veterans. However, I learned that it wasn’t specifically for Vets, but that it was sponsored and coordinated by a local Veterans support organization. The job fair was a major bust for me, but I did go with an ulterior motive and that was to support a local Veterans appreciation event held in my county every year.
After I spoke and gave my presentation to promote the event, I hung around to answer any questions from the group. And a few people did, in fact, stay behind to talk to me. A father asked if his teenage daughter, who is contemplating joining the military after high school, could contact me (“Of course!” was my response), another lady introduced herself as a family friend and a young guy who looked like a former Marine asked if he could take a pamphlet. But of everyone who stopped to chat, a very elderly man came by and our conversation went like this:
“Excuse me miss, but I just have to ask….are YOU a Veteran?!” he asked with astonishment in his voice.
“Yes, sir,” I answered. “I served four years in the Navy.”
“I’m a Sailor too!” he said through laughter. “I served during WWII on PT boats!”
You can read the full VAntage blog entry by Alison Derr HERE.