VOICES: Who is the Veteran?

Who is the Veteran? We are defined as anybody who served the military, whether Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, or honorably discharged. These are terms according to Title 38 in the Code of Federal Regulations. However, as a Veteran myself, we go far beyond simple definitions.

We are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandparents…. and that list goes on. We are the ones that have held the sword against the foe.

We have an unspoken fraternalism; the subtle nod, the look in the eyes, fist bumps, handshakes, the indiscriminate short conversations as we pass one another. This comes down to the honor and respect we hold for each other.

Before your barbecues and beer this Veterans Day, offer up a silent prayer for those in remembrance. Should a Veteran be present during your celebration, take time to watch, listen and learn from their stories — they are not just meaningless ramblings of days past. They are history, our history told by the most prolific historians of those times, the Veteran.

As a Veteran myself, I listen and learn through their mentorship of the hard times they endured, times most will never understand or even try to understand. It is the Veteran that teaches so much of “overcomings” that are overlooked because these come from the forgotten times.

To serve is what we as Veterans do. Long after our deployments are over and we come home with seen or unseen pain, we serve. This duty does not expire. Many different definitions of service come to mind. For some Veterans, it is service through mentorships to our up-and-coming generations, lest they forget as so many have. Never did we ask who to send. It is this mentorship that has valuable and meaningful life lessons taught (passed on) by the best teacher of all… the Veteran.

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!” - Isaiah 6:8

Theodore (Ted) L Priest Jr., Sergeant First Class, Retired, is a Police K9 Sergeant.

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