Terminal Lance #321 “The Veteran Moment”
May 9, 2014
We’ve all been there, sitting there minding our own (completely sane) business and suddenly you overhear someone talking about something they don’t know the first thing about. Maybe it’s about that country in the middle east they think (but aren’t sure) there’s a war happening in, and how they don’t ‘support it.’ Maybe it’s about their ‘friend’ that came back from the war all ‘messed up’ in the head, so they don’t ‘support it.’ Maybe it’s about just about anything that grinds your gears.
It’s immensely frustrating, and sometimes can lead to what I liked to call a “Veteran Moment.” You know what I’m talking about; that angry outburst that you can’t control. You have to correct these people, but your rage is so blinding that all you can manage to do is string together obscenities in a rather passionate and artful way. It’s hard, I know, but it’s important to remain calm. Nothing is actually accomplished, you turn around and walk away and they immediately label you one of those “messed up veterans.”
Having been out for a while and having made plenty of rounds around the military communities over the world wide web, sometimes I feel like it’s very easy for us to create a dichotomy of ‘us and them.’ It’s tough coming home and trying to become one of them again. They just don’t get it, and they never will. The further away we get from the war, the more obscure it becomes in the hindsight of society. It’s weird to think that 9/11 was almost 13 years ago, considering it was a major factor for enlisting for many of us in this generation. Those of you getting out of the Corps now and enrolling into college will find yourself surrounded by children. An 18 year old today was only 5 years old when the World Trade Center was attacked; it is but a distant history class to them.
Something that might help is to realize that it’s okay for our civilians to not know any better. This is a freedom that is afforded to them by those of us that carry the burden of OIF and OEF on our shoulders. As a military, it is our job to protect this country and the people in it from the horrors of the world. The fact that they don’t understand means we are doing our job. When someone says something stupid, don’t get upset–just hold your head high and know that you know the truth, and they don’t need to.
On a lighter note, happy Mothers Day to all of your mothers.
[insert joke about how I fucked all of your moms]