Webster’s dictionary says I am.
a: a former member of the armed forces
b: an old soldier of long service
In the definition of a veteran, I am one. So one would think that I have a Veteran’s plate on my truck and wear my Afghanistan Veteran ball cap. Well, I don’t have that plate and I have only worn my ball cap once outside the house. So why don’t I feel like a veteran? I served my great nation for 25yrs honourably. I spent months and years away from loved ones, missed birthdays and Christmas’. My kids grew up without a dad for months on end. My wife held down the fort while I was off in foreign lands for Queen and country.
So I am a veteran?
Maybe it is because I am still pretty young and fairly fit, for a 47yr old man. Is it because the wars I fought weren’t considered wars? I did 4 overseas missions with NATO and the conflict in Afghanistan. I saw the horrors of war even though I was a support trade and not a front line troop. Is that why?
Is it because I came home when so many of my friends and comrades didn’t? 158 Canadian troops were lost in Afghanistan, 18 on my 6-month deployment alone. Young men I knew and called friends. They are veterans, right? I think so. So why not me? Do I need to be wounded to be a veteran or worse yet killed in Action to be a Veteran?
The dictionary gave us a definition of a veteran but what defines a veteran in said veteran’s eyes? I don’t know. Maybe one day I will feel like a veteran and I will have a veteran plate, maybe I will wear my Veteran ball cap.
Jay is a Retired Canadian Army Sgt, who served 25 years to Queen and Country. He has multiple deployments both foreign and domestic including the Balkans and Afghanistan. When not smashing keys on a keyboard, he coaches little league baseball and competes nationally as a Service rifle, Pistol, and Precision long-range shooter. Jay is an avid hunter and outdoorsman and married to an amazing woman and has two incredible kids. He ends his writing with “VP” (Victoria Patricia) and “88W out” (his vehicle’s call sign).