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Not All Veterans Are Created Equal. You Have To Earn Your 'V'
Not all veterans are equal. There are veterans, and then there are Veterans. The difference has nothing to do with what we did in the military. The capital “V” is earned after leaving the service.
Take Sarah Wilson. She’s a Veteran — a Huey crew chief who protected her fellow Marines with her door gun during the invasion of Iraq—but you’d never guess it passing her in the aisle at Safeway.
Follow her on social media and you’ll never see posts expressing how many “zero f*cks” she gives about celebrity news, berating NFL players for exercising their rights, or simple-minded memes that belittle others.
She’s too busy being awesome.
Raising two children to be solid humans wasn’t enough, so she and her husband (also a Veteran) adopted a young boy from Ethiopia and hosted a Rwandan exchange student. Still not enough, Sarah volunteered at a local refugee resettlement center, built and operated a working farm, helped middle schoolers with severe behavioral issues, coached cross country, joined the VFW, and started her family’s business: UbuntuBlessings.com. You can bet that she votes—and takes that responsibility seriously.
Bravely engaging enemy troops from a loud and exposed position did not earn her a “V.” Being the cornerstone of her family and community did.
So what’s the point? It’s that we should expect more from ourselves and our peers than just being “veterans.” We need to earn our “V.”
How? Simple. Improve the lives of those around you. Big or small, the scale of your influence doesn’t matter.
What’s important is that you take the time to reflect on your experiences in the military and extract some hard-earned wisdom from it. Perhaps more than ever, America needs this wisdom from her Veterans.
But it doesn’t come with your discharge papers. You have to consciously seek wisdom, apply it to your own life, and then look for ways to share it. Skip any of those steps and you’re sharing “v” status with the guy huffing glue behind 7-11 who got admin-sep’d for cocaine because it was easier than a court-martial.
Yup. As far as most Americans are concerned, we’re the same as glue-boy. We all have DD-214’s. We’re veterans. Don’t like that? Then don’t be defined by your past.
This Veterans Day, take a moment to reflect on which “v” you rate. If you don’t like the answer, strive to be like Sarah. Start with yourself, your family, friends, and neighbors. Become the person they turn to when they need advice, when disaster strikes, or simply want to talk. Learn about issues facing our country instead of parroting someone else’s agenda. Become well grounded so when the winds of change disrupt the lives of those closest to you, you can help.
If you already have your “V,” thank you. Now, please help other veterans find theirs.
America will never ask us to become Veterans. She shouldn’t have to.
Dan Sheehan is a Marine veteran striving to earn his “V.” His non-fiction books examine the human costs of war on those who fight and guide veterans through the challenges of coming home. He lives in southern California and is hard at work on his first novel. www.dansheehanauthor.com
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"
Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House prior to departure that he planned to meet the families, a duty which he said "might be the toughest thing I have to do as president."
He was greeted by military staff at Dover Air Force Base after a short flight from Joint Base Andrews, but did not speak to reporters before entering his motorcade.
Flanked by military officials, Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan filed up a ramp leading onto a military transport aircraft, where a prayer was given to honor the memory of Scott Wirtz, a civilian Department of Defense employee from St. Louis.
Trump filed down the plank and saluted while six service members clad in fatigues and white gloves carried an American flag-draped casket carrying Wirtz to a waiting gray van.
The Dover base is a traditional hub for returning the remains of American troops abroad.
The United States believes the attack that killed the Americans was the work of Islamic State militants.
Trump announced last month that he planned to speedily withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but has since said it does not need to go quickly as he tries to ensure safety of Kurdish allies in northern Syria who are at risk of attack from neighboring Turkey.
Trump told reporters on Saturday that his Syria policy has made progress but that some work remained in destroying Islamic State targets. He defended his plans for a withdrawal.
"It's moving along very well, but when I took over it was a total mess. But you do have to ask yourself, we're killing ISIS for Russia, for Iran, for Syria, for Iraq, for a lot of other places. At some point you want to bring our people back home," he said.
In addition to Wirtz, those who died during the Wednesday attack in Manbij, Syria, were Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent, 35, identified as being from upstate New York, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
The Pentagon did not identify the fourth person killed, a contractor working for a private company. U.S. media identified her as Ghadir Taher, a 27-year-old employee of defense contractor Valiant Integrated Services.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Writing by Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Leslie Adler)
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.