Happy Veterans Day to me!

Yup, I’m a veteran. Not just a veteran, but a Viet Nam Era veteran. No, I did not go to Viet Nam, I joined in 1974, but the Viet Nam Era, and certain benefits extended until 1976.  The draft was long over, and my High School  graduating class, 1973, was the first class since the draft started not to have to register. The men, that is. The draft ended in 1972.

I was actually in the Air Force with a few guys who opted to join the Air Force as opposed to be drafted into the Army, so the day the draft ended, they had to complete their service while their drafted buddies got to leave the induction center and go home. They were not happy.

My adolescence and young adulthood was colored by the Viet Nam “conflict.”   I dated guys who were there. I dated guys were didn’t have to go. I talked with my feminist friends about why women were just as competent. In those days, women didn’t go into combat zones, except nurses. Not even as support.

When I was in basic training, we, the women, were never even trained to use guns, and I didn’t get my actual fatigue uniforms until I got to my duty station.  We wore light blue shirts with peter pan colors and dark blue work slacks or wrap around work skirts. I think the dress uniforms haven’t changed much since then, at least not for women, except for, oh, maternity uniforms, which also didn’t exist then.

I don’t know exactly how things are different for the men and women in the Armed Services today, but I know they are.  One thing that isn’t different is that they deserve a salute and a thank you, and much, much more.

They deserve the physical and emotional support that enables them to return to civilian life proud, healing, and then healthy. Transitioning from war and the physical and emotional wounds can be an arduous process. It takes time for the vets and their families. Remember them, support them, especially when it comes to voting for administrations that will keep the financial support flowing to transition them back.

HAPPY VETERANS DAY TO THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND THOSE SERVING NOW!

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