Post-Veterans Day Pondering: What's A "Veteran"?


When I was writing my blog yesterday, I ran into a lot of material about Veterans Day in particular and veterans more generally.  Now I’ve always thought of Veterans Day as a time to honor all those men and women who served our country during war time and even more so, maybe, those who were actually involved in the war itself.  

But it seems this is a narrow view and that it is more generally accepted to honor anyone who ever enlisted in any armed service for any reason.  And although this is likely an unpopular view, I think that’s ridiculous.  I mean, career service people, YES!  They can’t control whether we go to war or not and have totally dedicated their lives to the service of our country, but . . . .

What about Johnny who enlists for college money and spends his four to six years sorting mail in Hawaii?  Or what about Janey who enlists “to see the world” and ends up in Ohio mowing grass and edging the base’s green areas for a few years before moving back into the civilian world with her shiny new landscaping degree?  Or what about Jimmy who goes into flight school, becomes a pilot, knowing he’ll make more money more safely flying for Jet Blue?  Or what about Joanie who trains in IT during her short stay with the armed service of her choice and doesn’t re-up but leaves to make six figures in the civilian industry?

Do I think that these people made wise decisions about their futures and respect them for it?  Of course I do.  Do I admire their planning and tenacity and smarts?  Of course I do.  But I also feel the same way about anyone who makes good, but I don’t honor Oprah or the Donald (for example) on any day of the year.  I dunno, I don’t really have it in my heart to honor the short timer, the person who isn’t serving to serve the country but only to serve themselves. 


Drew Carey (pictured) served in the Marines from 1980-86.


8 thoughts on “Post-Veterans Day Pondering: What's A "Veteran"?

  1. Ohhh, Fuzzy, I think we are going to have to disagree on this one. I have to go get supper on the table but will comment when I get back!

    Yeahhh! the debates are back!

    Ps…we are having Spanish Chicken with Mexican rice and a nice garden salad with ranch dressing. Pull of a chair if you like!

  2. LOL, Amber, Wikipedia calls my view “a common misconception,” but I can’t help how I feel about that. Career and/or war-time military are veterans to my mind, but I can’t wait to hear your side, BBB/RLF/BFF.

    Definitely signed up for the yummy Mex dinner! Sounds delish.

  3. Hei Fuzz.

    You over there as well as in Britain people are remembering their ‘veterans’ while we in Finland have been having the Father’s Day today!

    I would think that a veteran is one who has been in a war/conflict and come out of it if not intact then just out.
    Take care. Keep well and get strong on your hand/wrist soon. =)

    Time difference to GMT = UK is +2hrs in Finland so we are 7 hrs ahead of ye.

  4. Fuzzy – yes many people hold this perception; right or wrong I can care less – for the fact remains, these individuals serve their country not for the duration of active duty; usually 2 to 4 years … but for 6 years for enlisted personnel … Officers term of enlistment is different and with some skills such as pilots … they never do really leave the military … all in all once you served in the military you can be subject to callback if a war breaks out …

  5. I knew a veteran was a person who served in the military. Although I will admit I usually consider those who served in the war time to be honored more. But I believe that any service man should be honored. I know some go in for other reasons. But they are aware that they could be called to serve their country during war at any time in there service.

  6. Ah, thanks, Riihele, was wondering about that for some reason!

    Thanks, Bear and Bert, I definitely see what you guys are saying and as the way that I think of veterans is technically wrong, it’s all good. Huggs to all.

  7. The definition of a verteran is one that served during a time of conflict. There are many armed service men and women that are currently stateside that will have many of the same rights as those that are shooting it out in Baghdad.

    Do I dare say this???? As a white caucation male, in a federal governemnt career, I truly regret having not gone in the service (there is so much more but it is strictly on a want to know basis). On the flip-side of that, I would have never qualified as a veteran becasue we forty-somethings lived through the 15 most peaceful years in the 20th century.

    So to those men an women who know the fear of wartime theater duty, I honor them. Their history is great and what they do is incredibly important. Their personal sacrifices may never be repaid.

    But yes, the definition of “veteran” can be lose; and their benefits many.

  8. Yay, Gregg, you just evened up the numbers, now it’s three for three! (I think I like this you not working thing; gives you more time to blog!! Smiles.)

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