A good friend — a dedicated sister volunteer with the Red Cross — wrote to me and wrote, in closing, “Thank you for your service.” This was my response to this dear woman:

A very gentle bit of insight, from a person who greatly respects the work that you do and your dedication. I most sincerely thank you for thinking of me.

Not all veterans are proud of their service. Some, like me, feel we were exploited for no good purpose. Naively fooled, as young men often are, by macho rhetoric and pronouncements, sophisticated images and video, appeals to patriotism and defense of the homeland. It’s an age old story. Many of us feel we were used by the “aristocracy” of this country for their own financial benefit, enhancement of their own egos, for their own amusement. We were the expendable peasants. Those same people would not spend the money to bandage our wounds, whether psychic or physical, if not the good people of this country, who were also taken in, did not demand it. Now make no mistake, though I strive to be a peaceful man always, I am hardly a pacifist. To protect my family, my friends, my neighbors, maybe even my country, I would be a dedicated, well trained and relentless adversary.

So what do you say that any veteran—every veteran—will appreciate? Maybe even bring a tear to their eye. Put your hand on your heart, look them in the eye and say, “Welcome home.”

Our work continues, Peter

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