November 11, 2016
Armistice Day, now known as Veteran's Day, is in remembrance of World War I's casualties and survivors. Today, few but other veterans and their families much care to remember the unshared experience of being a vet. And that is the point.
As a former Marine, I share in the specific recollections of all Marines, dead or alive. We are an American cohort of the larger cohort of former military men and women. We shared the good, bad and indifferent of military service but, importantly, we believed we were together as Americans. Once shared, it is tough to lose that belief. We were in "it" together; city boys, farm boys, whites, blacks and all in the military melting pot. You develop a belief in yourself as resilient and your fellow Americans as people you can count on when the chips are down and the issue great. I still feel a special kinship to former Marines. I already know a lot about him or her. And I like and respect them for that shared experience.
All of us veterans remember our fellow vets who never came home or who came home as mental or physical basket cases. When I look at a person’s Wiki biography, I always look for their military service. Sadly, these past years, there is far less of it. I think we miss the sense of duty and cohesion which comes from being first a recruit and then an accepted member of the American military. When Sarge says: "Let's go!" all went. As one and as Americans.