Proud to be a Gulf War veteran

I came across this old post and found that it still resonates with me. Written in 2007, this was a few weeks into my current employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs…so some of my perspectives here lack the education I have today. It is a good snapshot of how I was feeling eight years ago, just coming out of Brandeis University, and not connected to the military community at all, like I am now. Guilt for not having served in a combat zone continues to be a topic that comes up between myself and veteran friends.

Conscious Engagement

Dressed in my blues, sometime in the Spring of 1991. Just after the swift conclusion of the first Gulf War. Dressed in my blues, sometime in the Spring of 1991. Just after the swift conclusion of the first Gulf War.

It’s sad to admit, but I was almost going to leave out the “Gulf War” part of the title, because I didn’t want to trigger any negative responses. The word veteran is pretty easily used among my friends, and we say how proud we are of veterans. But “that damn war” is a different topic altogether.

Of course, no one blames the soldiers. They are the ones dying. And their families are the ones suffering for the loss of the youth and strength of their loved ones. As one friend reminded me, the ones who don’t die have a more difficult battle: coming home scarred. Missing limbs, unexplained ailments from the desert, gone wrong in the head. There is radiation poisoning from depleted uranium that gets passed down to their kids. There…

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8 thoughts on “Proud to be a Gulf War veteran

  1. Hear, hear! You did your duty. There is no shame to b felt whatsoever at not being in combat. Little or no combat can be done (and won) it were not for support troops. I did my stint in the military in France (not war time), one year military service. Infantry. Combat regiment. More than six months of manoeuvers. Very tough. And we came out well-trained. But we could not have done any of the very hard training we did without support companies. Logistics, trucks, ammo supply chain, signal corps, etc. So, rest back. No shame. You did your piece. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your service and for your support! You are absolutely right, and I appreciate your words. Intellectually, we all know this.

      What I find interesting is that while it’s easy to understand that support troops are vital, why does the internal feeling of guilt and pressure remain? Rhetorical question really…

      1. Overachievers? 🙂 You probably beat yourself up for not doing more? Hey! That’s all right. Overachievers get more things done. Now just ask yourself: did you ask for a front-line assignment? Yes. You didn’t get it. End of story. Plus on the other side, you probably saved many lives by establishing the correct conditions for combat. Be good. Brian

  2. I have mixed feelings about the military and much of my thoughts are idealistic. As if we could get by without servicemen and women. I know it is a dream like state. Always though, peace loving, tree hugging hippie, I would respect and give honor to those who served. By being in any aspect of the military, Crystal meant you served our country. No guilt. ♡ Hugs, Robin

    1. Thank you for your beautiful message, Robin. I can relate to both sides: hippie and soldier! Thank you for the love and for being faithful to your true feelings. It’s the best all of us can do.

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