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Friday, November 11, 2011

I am a veteran

I am a veteran.
And yet, when people talk about veterans, I don't think of myself as one of those talk worthy ones. I didn't deploy.  I was never sent away from my family (seeing as I was young and single at the time).
Still, I am a veteran. I served during all the operations after 9/11. I was on a base learning to do my job on THAT eventful day. I wore a uniform, participated in exercises and knew the possibilities for deployment were there. I even volunteered to "go" when I was in the USAF Space Command. I was informed Lieutenants of my specialty didn't get deployed, at least not from Space Command. Not everyone can be the pointy end of the spear. I was a support function. I never had to see my friends injured, or worse. I never wore 80+lbs in gear for protection or dealt with mind melting noises and heat. I spent my first three years in the Rocky Mountains...no where like the hell holes some of my fellow veterans passed their time.
I am a veteran. I am even a disabled veteran. There are things I just have to live with- wear and tear does that after a while. And when you're young and overly eager to show just how ready you are- how willing you are to be fit to fight even when there is pain that indicates an injury...that wear and tear leaves lasting impressions.  
I am a veteran. But I don't feel like one.  I am sure that there are others out there like me, who once wore a uniform but would not fit the "image" of veteran.  Chances are they, too, are uncomfortable with any thanks or accolades.
But here it is, Veteran's day.
I am proud to have served. But humbled by the service of those who served in less hospitable environments. Humbled.
Here I am going to jump into something political.
Every year we say thank you to those who served.
Instead of words that are said and then vanish like any others, I urge you to ask your House representatives (the Senate voted on this and passed it yesterday, now it is the House's turn) to get behind that which will be of more benefit than thank yous (specifically the American Jobs Act).  I already know where my representatives stand (I follow them on twitter, of course).
Because even though I don't always feel like a veteran, I am one. I will step up to any line to help my fellow veterans. I am thankful that there are leaders also stepping up to the line by circumventing the all too usual posturing in Congress to help veterans- so far there are 500K job postings for vets in the newly created Job Banks, helped along by Linkedin and Simplyhired with more to come.
I wish I could do more. But for now, using my voice through social media and voting are the ways I can help my fellow veterans. 
/very respectfully
Theresa G
USAF 2001-2006 UPDATE: The VOW veterans jobs act has been signed by President Obama. Thank you.

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