My military service was in another uniform, serving another country, on another continent. Nevertheless, I've gained many friends who served in the US armed forces, and who've shared their experiences of military life and combat with me. Turns out most militaries are the same under the skin. Whether it's a US Drill Instructor demanding "What is your major malfunction, numbnuts?", or a South African NCO sending me running up a hill to fetch a leaf from a designated bush as punishment for a parade-ground misdemeanor (only to hear him bellow, on my return, "Wrong leaf! Go back and get the right one!"), we've all experienced much the same thing.
On this Veterans Day, may all of you who've served in any military force remember your service with nostalgia as pleasant as possible. If it wasn't pleasant, then be happy you're no longer in uniform! We can all hoist a glass in each other's honor today, and indulge our memories.
For me, today is also Remembrance Day and Armistice Day, both celebrated throughout the former British Empire. I'll be remembering those who died alongside me. There are more than a few of them. (I wrote about Flynn's death ten years ago, if you're interested. In a strange, roundabout sort of way, that memory later had a very profound effect on my marriage, as I related here.)