F. William Broome
NEVER A WAR VETERAN
A great, great, great, great grandpa fought with General Lee
a few days before Appomattox, but never became a veteran.
My grandmother’s father took his first and only sea voyage
to France in 1918 to fight Germans, but was never a veteran.
Great Uncle Herman, a sergeant in World War Two, was
in the Battle of The Bulge, but no one called him a veteran.
Aunt Evelyn, a Navy nurse, was aboard a hospital ship off
Viet Nam’s coast, joining those without the tag of, “Veteran.”
After Dad’s Reserve Unit went to the Iraqi conflict, he did
return after weeks of desert fighting, but not as a veteran.
These loved ones came to mind today, watching C-Span, the
only cable service to carry the Arlington Cemetery ceremony
on Veterans Day, November 11. I saw old vets and younger
vets, was thrilled with veteran-carried US flags fluttering by,
and re-assured hearing a patriotic speech by our President
and Commander-In-Chief in a heartfelt salute to veterans.
It would have been wonderful to watch it with a real live
veteran, but not one was there with me. Each had lost life
during combat in their country’s wars. None became a war
veteran, because to be such a veteran, one must have
served honorably in the military – and returned home – alive.
©Copyright November 2004 by F. William Broome