veterans

That’s right, get ready America, the Veterans are coming.  They are already here you say.  Yes, yes, there are indeed Veterans all around us now, but I am of the opinion that us Veterans have not quite arrived yet.  Read the full article and I think you’ll see what I mean.  Would it surprise you to know that over 2 million of the US armed forces served in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001?  Granted that’s a relatively small percentage of the US population, a fact worth remembering as well, but I assure you, 2 million plus Veterans roaming the country will have its impact.  You just wait and see.

Not What You Think

If you read that opening paragraph and see that as some ominous warning then I suggest you have been exposed to a little too much of the wrong Veteran news.  Yes, many Veterans have returned from the wars and suffered the effects of PTSD, depression, and a struggle to adjust to civilian life.  But if you read my article, A Case for Veteran Purpose, that might give you some insight the problem is not inherently the Veterans.

And to be perfectly honest, every time an individual commits some bizzare crime or commits some particular heinous act, I get a little tired of the media going out of their way to point out that he was  Veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan and might be suffering from PTSD.  He might have also had fruit loops for breakfast that morning and that fact could have been as pertinent to his crime as his Veteran status.  There are Veterans all around you America, I assure you that makes you more safe than in danger.

The First Fruits

On September 11th, 2001, I was finishing my last semester of college and serving the last couple of years of my contract as a Marine Reservist with Kilo Co. 3rd battalion 23rd Marines.  By March of 2003, I was deployed with the rest of my unit to Iraq and upon returning, I found myself a 24 year old war Veteran.  It is quite interesting to note that a 20 year old serving in Afghanistan today was only 8 years old in 2001 and just 10 when I deployed to Iraq.

With a significant portion of Veterans having served between the ages of 18 and 25, that means even if you served over a decade ago like me, many of you are finding yourselves today walking around at the ripe old age of 35 or so.  Meaning, all that Veterans have contributed to society since their return are but the the first fruits of generation shaped by war.

I encourage you to go to Facebook or google and just search Veteran’s non-profits.  You will be pleasantly surprised that the Veteran’s of Iraq and Afghanistan have hardly been sitting around since our return.  A significant portion of them are oriented towards our fellow Veterans for Veterans know all too well from personal experience that the adjustment home can be challenging and that the brotherhood forged on the battlefield doesn’t just end when you come back home.  Consequently, one of the significant first fruits of this generation of Veterans is that we will take care of our own.  We will not abandon them to society.

Upstream

I say the above contributions are but the first fruits because here is the thing.  Most of us are still relatively young.  Sure there are some older veterans out there, but as I mentioned many of us who have exited the military are just now from serving a decade ago approaching our early to mid thirties.  Its in these years that we begin to approach our season of peak influence.  Having been shaped by war at an early age and now having been seasoned with a few grey hairs and a little age, we are finding ourselves in greater positions of authority in our relative fields and with greater influence over others.

Myself, having been in non-profit management since my return from Iraq 11 years ago, I now not only have my experience in Iraq but a decade plus of leading and managing people in the workplace.  So it is with many of us who served at a younger age.  Not every one is able to start and run a successful company at such a young age upon our return.  Okay, Nick Baucom from Two Marines Moving certainly can.  However for many of us, it took a little time and life experience, perhaps even some years working out any haunting memories from war or even just cutting loose in the world because you survived war and you can.  But we are maturing, and as we do, the height of our impact will come downstream with us.

The Result

So honestly to sum this up, get ready America.  The skills we learned and experienced in Iraq are being joined with the skills and experiences we are learning in the workplace, starting non-profits, starting companies, raising families, and bringing our voices to the world.  You honor us for what we have done and we thank you for that.  But the best is yet to come.  The next 50 years of America is getting ready to be shaped by the men and women who over the past 13 years have started their adulthood on foreign soil.  If you thought what we did over there was impressive, wait till you see what we do with America.

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6 Replies to “Get Ready America, The Veterans Are Coming”

    1. ooh Rah Brother. Thanks for the comment. Seems like just yesterday sometimes we were all there.

  1. In one of your first paragraphs, you refer to reading or hearing disturbing news and hoping a Vet is not involved. Welcome home brother! We Viet Nam vets have been putting up with this for many year. We had no social media to air our concerns. All we had was each other. And we fought hard to make sure America doesn’t treat your generation the way we were treated. We are proud of our service during Viet Nam, but ashamed and hurt by how we were treated by our country and our fellow Americans.
    Welcome to the fight brothers!

    1. Thanks for your comment Vietnam Vet. I think about that a lot in regards to the environment many of you had to come home to. I think honestly it is as your generation rose to positions of prominence kind of like my article mentions, that us current generations of Vets have had it much better. You guys were in charge of America and you looked after and took care of us. Much thanks to you and your generation.

  2. Welcome home Vets. and thank you all for your service to our Nation. Looking forward to having someone that knows what its like risking life and limb for our freedoms and liberties and that knows better than to take them for granted running our country. Hopefully then what you all fought for will not be in jeopardy every single day and pride will once again come back to the USA !!!

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