On Veteran's Day I feel humbled and a little embarrassed when someone thanks me for my service. I'm proud to say I'm an Air Force Veteran but I served in peace time and was an entertainer for those doing the heavy work.
In my last year, I was stationed at the Air Force Survival School headquarter in Spokane, WA setting up a media relations program for the Public Affairs office. There, I met POW's from Vietnam and many of the Survival Instructors I worked with every day were veterans of that war. When I think of veterans, I think of them. I think of my nephew who served 3 tours in Iraq. I think of cousins who served in the Gulf war. I think of Uncles who served in Korea and in World War II.
During my tour, there was only one night I feared and wondered if I might need to risk my life for duty. But it did not come to that. While I remember it, it has never caused me nightmares. I witnessed no bloodshed. I experienced no terror.
I know a veteran of such experience - witness of bloodshed and terror - by the look in their eye. They have been to a place that never quite leaves them. To these men and women I humbly defer recognition of service. They lost a part of themselves in that place that never quite leaves them. It becomes a ghost that follows them - distant but hauntingly real.
I can only hope to entertain them.