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Monday, October 4, 2010

What Is a Veteran?

By David "Jager" Burnell  

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

Being a veteran means you are willing to remember that the oath you took to defend this nation from all enemies foreign and domestic had no expiration date.

Being a veteran means that patriotism is not be a social activity, but a deep personal behavior.

Being a veteran means more than being touched once a year by the sacrifice of those that serve abroad. It means to feel deeply, personally within oneself the magnitude of separation, life's brief nature and most importantly the willingness to give up everything for your friends and family.

Being a veteran is having a deep respect for Old Glory, the flag that waves on so many buildings, homes and cemeteries in this land of the brave and home of the free.

Being a veteran means that not only do we notice the flag as it waves in the breeze, it means we connect to the fabric that has made our flag a symbol of hope for nations where there is none.

Being a veteran means we are not only willing and grateful to salute our flag, but that we are also committed to and embrace the principles she stands for.

Being a veteran means that not only will tears flow when sacrifices are remembered or honored, but the eyes of a veteran may also glisten at quiet times as we reflect on those we knew and others we didn't who were willing to give all.

Being a veteran means that we recognize that we have fought to preserve the rights of others to have differing opinions, views and arguments.

Being a veteran means that reverence has an earned place at the thanksgiving table, or the Christmas feast as we remember the missing, lost and love ones.

Being a veterans means that when we pray we remember the watchmen who are protecting and preserving our way of life.

As veterans we need no accolades or parades, only the quiet dignity allowed all free people, to love, live and move through life freely.

As veterans we desire to co-exist with those who have not experienced the trauma of battle and to be understood in our differences as souls that are good, but that sometimes reflect the tempests we have experienced in our service.

World peace for a veteran is not a punch line, it is a life long endeavor, a mission, or a solemn purpose. It is the result of trading our innocent youth for the baggage of conflict. Excepting the burdens of insecurity for the promises of peace for our children.

Being a veteran is a not a title or deed, but a result of serving. Serving under any and all circumstances that our country asked of us. In some cases giving more, much more than asked... for the benefit of all who would follow.

May God Bless America and may he ever bless the young people of our nation with a reverence and respect for those who have gone before, to protect and to stand watch over our safety, liberty and freedoms.