Who are veterans? They are our next door neighbors, our co-workers, our family members.
An essay by a Navy veteran who saw no combat questioned if she should be considered a veteran in the same breath as a WWII seaman who served on a PT boat in the Pacific.
Alison Derr wrote:
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.
So, we asked how you define who is a veteran. Here are a few of the responses:
From Motorcycle Enthusiast:
If you have a DD 214 you stepped up to the plate regardless of duty station or MOS.
From Lisa, Veteran U.S. Army:
General Douglas MacArthur gave his famous farewell speech to the cadets of West Point on May 12, 1962 where he spoke about “duty, honor, and country”. I believe his words speaks volumes of the word “Veteran”.
“And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? “Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him and her (sic) was formed in the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him (her) then, as I regard him now as one of the world’s noblest figures-not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. “His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen”. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast”.
General Douglas MacArthur, May 12, 1962
The website – MilitaryAvenue.com – offers this definition:
A military veteran is:
experienced in a trade
trained and skilled in their job
knowledgeable about being on time and on target
salutes the flag with purpose
wears or has worn a uniform
has sworn and taken an oath
has carried a weapon
has polished boots
understands what ‘taps’ means
comprehends an order
has awoken to reveille
knows the chain of command
has spoken the language of acronyms
has longed for leave
owns a set of dog tags
has access to organizations like the VFW, American Legion, VA, MOAA, NCOA
garners respect when speaking of service
has protected the integrity of our constitution
has pledged allegiance to our flag, and meant it!
Steven Vandervort writes what being a Veteran means to him:
Being a Veteran means finally getting to that all important retirement date and having saved vacation days for years to have a three-month transition time and you start applying for civilian/federal jobs only to find out that your skill set and/or background or the fact that you’re a veteran is preventing you from even landing any interviews.
You can read his full definition of what being a veteran means HERE on the VA blog, VAntage.