Today is Veterans’ Day, and though I’ve got plenty of things to do, I’ve decided to keep my old tradition of taking the day off. It’s important to me to take a little time to reflect on my military time, think about old friends, and honor my country a bit.
I really do miss the military life. Living it for 21 years made it a part of me that doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to go away. I miss the people, sense of higher purpose, and the adventure of putting awesome projects together. I miss the feeling that everyone is on the same team aiming for a common goal. I miss the awesome workplaces in remote corners of the world (What?? You miss Omaha??). Well, maybe I don’t miss Omaha too much, but I do miss the awesome people and workplaces that were there.
“Were.” I don’t think any of the places I used to work exist anymore with the exception of India-01 Launch Control Facility just southeast of Sydney, Nebraska. The thing is, when you accomplish something there’s no need for the means to accomplish it, so those old facilities have been shut down in favor of new missions.
Our military is very powerful and very flexible. It can switch from all out war to humanitarian support in a heartbeat. Yes, it takes a lot of money to make that happen. But more importantly it takes exceptional people. It takes people who can visualize a goal and then make it happen. It takes smart, talented people from every walk of life.
After I retired from the Air Force it took several years for me to understand and feel the significance of my career, and feel the reality that I’m a veteran. Now that I’ve come to this understanding it’s important for me to take pause and celebrate the accomplishments of my life, and honor those who came before and after me.
If you see a veteran today, shake their hand and look them in the eye. It will mean a lot to them.