Most years, November is a very gray, and cold season. This year has been unusually warm and sunny, above 60 degrees F, or 15 degrees C-and with brilliant sunshine...It's still, I think, a time for reflection in my part of the Midwest. I think add to that, I am in the middle of reading a book on the Battle of the Somme from WWI-where thousands of British, German and French troops perished.
Add to that, November 11th is Veteran's Day. For military Veterans like my wife and I(Shot above with both of us wearing our Air Force uniforms), we think a lot of the sacrifices made by men and women in uniform. For me, I cannot get away from it, as I work as a nurse in the VA Medical Center here in Minneapolis, where we provide medical care for vets from WWII to Afghanistan and Iraq. The thing that is strange now, is that even though there are American, British, Canadian and Australian troops in some very unpleasant places, life here in the USA is not very different since the fall of 2001. There is no rationing of gas, sugar or other items like during WWII. After 9 years in Afghanistan, the dead and dying troops don't seem to merit much air time in the media. I cannot speak for other countries, but it almost seems like the American military has become an almost "warrior class"-separate from the rest of American society. Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors come home and seem to have a harder time coping and mixing with society. For many, it seems that life in "The Sand Box" has a more simple code of covering your buddy's back-and you know that they will do the same for you.
I ran into a site on Facebook today for Fallen Military Rugby players.http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fallen-Military-Ruggers/172537576090129 I cannot help but to have very conflicting feelings. It still hurts me that the Army medically boarded me out because I have sleep apnea. I still miss the soldiers in my Army Reserve unit. On the other hand, rugby gave me a chance to cope with my depression and anger after being boarded out. Belonging to the Metropolis RFC in Minneapolis literally kept me from losing my mind, and it has been a carrot on the stick to keep me going to the gym so I don't get killed in the Old Boys games. It's a different kind of band of brothers, but it's been a very valuable one for me.
So this Veteran's Day, spare a thought for the fallen...but also the Veteran's who are still alive, and trying to deal with some very, very dark thoughts after being what they have been through.