“You don’t look like a Veteran,” I’ve been told.
“What is a Veteran supposed to look like?”
Veteran’s Day is often a time that I experience a plethora of emotions, none of which I know how to fully describe. While I sit in a commercial establishment that’s been embellished with pro-military Thank You’s and American flags to appeal to my patriotism, I still feel out of place. I wore a polo yesterday, a blue one from Banana Republic. This was a stark contrast to the many black vests laden with patches, medals and camouflage fatigues I was surrounded by.
Everyone expresses their “Veteranisms” their own way. I suppose I maintain that I look “military” because I like to stay clean cut and I keep my hair short. I don’t feel the need to wear patches or comically oversized “Veteran hats” that are so standard among our predecessors. I feel that the modern veteran is a different animal than those of the past. The Vietnam war veteran imagery that was so commonplace in my childhood has been replaced by fit men in polos with neat haircuts. The era of the Vietnam war was very different; it was spiteful and angry. You’d never know, by walking into an Applebee’s on Veteran’s Day, that the warrior class of 40-50 years ago was spat upon and shunned when they returned home from that ugly war.
Still though, much like my own generation, for all the anger and hatred they felt upon returning home, they wear their veteran status with pride.
Some people lately have accused me of things they don’t understand. They tell me I hate the Marine Corps or that I am disrespectful to it. I disagree wholeheartedly. I feel that I, more than most, have shown above all else that I do not hate anything other than ignorance. My goal here has never been to hate, and if you feel that way, I might invite you to fuck off in whatever way best suits you. I can introduce you to ways you can fuck off, if you need me to. My goal here is, and has always been, to show the Marine Corps and the military in the most honest light I can comprehend, which occasionally involves criticism and (hopefully always) provides humor.
Like those other veterans–even without patches and hats–I wear my veteran status with pride. It was my accomplishment, enlisting in the Marine Corps as infantry and going to Iraq twice, and I would have it no other way.
On an unrelated note, I’m currently looking for a new shop system to take over the Terminal Lance merchandise store. I’m looking for someone to handle printing, distribution and logistics, etc. If you’re someone that owns a print shop or otherwise and are interested, please shoot me an email. Also, make sure you come by the Terminal Lance Forum, which has also recently been revamped.
Oh, I also made the front page of my old school’s website.