I have met many a veteran.
Often times the way I meet them, I’m sitting across from them in their home.
They are now ‘old’ by some people’s standards.
And I’m talking to them because I am investigating an allegation of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
I ask if they are a veteran.
Often times I get to see a picture, or twenty, of them in uniform. Getting married. Raising their family. I see them strong. Young. Powerful.
I see them as guardians and protectors.
And I see them, wondering who, is now guarding and protecting them.
And I have this everlasting vision of them. This older man. With his younger self trapped within.
And I thank this veteran.
And more times than not they quietly say “you’re welcome”. Many say “the ones to thank are the ones who didn’t return”. A few, cry.
I have met many a veteran. Way too many of them, in this manner.