Veterans are a rare breed


As of 2014, 7.3 percent of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives.The overall percentage varies by gender — 1.4 percent of all living female Americans have ever served in the armed services, compared to 13.4 percent of all male Americans. (Source: Veterans Administration)

Veterans are a rare breed. Each joins for a different reason. Many today do not fully understand just what it means to many of the old-timers like myself.

I joined the military because of the influence the World War II and Korean War veterans had on me. Many of the men did not agree with me, as they felt that I, as a woman, did not belong in the service.

I grew up hearing stories from people who remembered when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Others told their stories of escaping Nazi Germany. Many of them did not serve in the military, but felt indebted to those who did.

Coral USAFI joined the service at a time when things were changing. We were still in Vietnam. It was not sexy for anyone to join any longer. The romanticism of the “good guys going after the bad” was quickly losing its  appeal.

Yet, it was ingrained in me to be of service to others, especially “owing service to my country.”

Today, I still believe in service to my country, fellow man, and others who are in need. I am not quite the idealist as I was at 18-years-old. I also see things differently than those who are coming in to the military today.

Playing the cello pans with the Navy Steel Band in Summer 1983. (Photo taken by Navy journalist, name unknown)Yet, I am grateful to each and everyone who has made the commitment to join andbe ready to go into battle, if need be.  And I wish to honor all veterans today on this Veterans Day–those who have served before me, with me, and also after me.

Thank you for being willing to be one of the very few who has taken the oath of service.

It matters. You matter. At least to one old vet who remembers why we serve.

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3 thoughts on “Veterans are a rare breed

  1. 7.3 percent is not a big fraction of the population. It would seem that many are willing to leave their defence in the hands of others. Is there a perceived difference between those veterans who join freely when their nation does not demand it and those who are conscripted? I refer to the attitude of others – are some veterans somehow seen to be ”more worthy” than others?

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