Today is Veteran’s Day, the official day to honor all those who have served in the military. I am a veteran. Although, sometimes I feel guilty calling myself one. In today’s world, most military veterans have seen action in some of the many conflicts over the last 25 years. They have been stripped from their families, shipped to foreign countries, thrown on the front line, one hundred degree weather with sand filling their nostrils, bullets flying overhead…the whole bit. Not me. I was on active duty in the early 80’s and while the Invasion of Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury) happened during my tour in Panama, most of my time in the service was spent sending up weather balloons and crunching weather data to pass on to pilots (otherwise, I was drinking beer on Fort Kobbe beach by the Pacific Ocean with other soldiers)!
Still, I am glad to have served and can be labelled ‘a veteran’. As I travel to IBM i conferences all over the country, I have met many more military veterans and ‘war horses’ that now work in the computer field. The ‘veteran’ status supplies instant comradery and a brotherhood, whether it be after a military career spent on desk duty or a short term deployment in the battlefield. We, veterans, have that subtle connection which is hard to put a finger on. It could be that we can relate to having our identities stripped upon our entrance to boot camp or the humiliation of cleaning the floors with toothbrushes or ‘falling out’ at 5am to march to military technical school in zero degree temperatures at Chanute AFB or all the psychological games the T.I.’s played on us. We had no contact with friends or family for weeks or months on end (no cell phones back then!). The whole military experience forced us to become independent, self-disciplined, loyal, hardworking, combat-ready soldiers at the ripe old age of EIGHTEEN!
ProData has four veterans working in the office. For the most part, you can tell they are solid, old soldiers. ‘War’ stories are shared. They are never late to work, they voice few (if any) complaints and they are focused on getting the job done, no questions asked. This is what military service instilled in them, in us…a focused work ethic. I often razz ProData’s owners to let us ‘old war heroes’ have Veteran’s Day off! But instead, we ‘vets’ come in just like every other day and battle the work put in front of us.
“Fall out soldier. Get to work!”
Military then, military now. It’s who we are. Something we can be proud of. Happy Veteran’s Day!
PS. That’s my Dad pictured with his parents (above) as he goes off to the military in the late 50’s! The stories and pictures of his service time at Camp Darby, Italy inspired me to join the USAF.