Tomorrow is Veterans Day and in honor of those who serve our country, I asked two people that I know personally if they would answer a few questions to give us their point of view of what it’s like to serve in the military in a war far from home.
Col. Kathy Groce: actively serving in the United states Air Force. She served in Desert Storm and Iraq as an RN.
1. I would like the American people to know that each war experience is different and each person responds to it differently. Perhaps you can lump generalities together from each war but, no matter what, those who go to war are changed by it in some way. Sometimes the changes are almost undetectable...sometimes they overwhelm. Veterans have faced their own fears and for the most part have put service to our country above their own comfort and safety. For the most part, they have dealt with situations and decisions that the everyday American will never consider. So we come back home from a war and try to fit back in to the times, changes, feelings...and it is hard sometimes.
2. Would I join the service if I had a do over? Yes, I would. The military is a way of life, and though I don't agree with all of it, I like it nonetheless. I learned skills and had experiences that I would never have learned or gotten otherwise.
3. My specific branch of service - Air Force - was pretty good to us. I have no real complaints. They have taken care of me.
4. The most significant thing I learned in the service is that everyone has a responsibility to speak up and to listen up in order to make positive changes. I always thought that those in higher ranks or whoever was in charge knew better ways of doing things than I did...not always true. Some good changes have occurred because someone took the risk of challenging the status quo. The key is learning the proper way to challenge the system.
5. I know that going to war with people makes bonds with them that are hard to break. There is a place in my heart for the folks I deployed with... I know what sacrifices they made and I know how hard we all worked to do our jobs. It is a camaraderie bonus.
Dennis Groce: Served in Viet Vam and is now a private citizen
1. ALL Americans should be very grateful to ALL service members, male and female. Active or retired. For doing their duty for their country! There should be more recognition and less finger pointing, realizing that in order for peace, sacrifices must be made!
2. Age and health permitting, yes I would serve again.
3. Pay for military should be increased and benefits should reflect the difficult training to prepare for a “government" job!
4. I. Learned life survival skills which should be taught to all citizens. Maybe then, the spaces would begin to fill in!
5. My service was mandatory as I was drafted for service in Viet Nam. Every physical exercise was in preparation to either kill or be killed!
It was a Real Change from high school!
A solid mental focus became a natural occurrence when you realize
“I’m not in Kansas anymore“! Overall. I enjoyed the Brotherhood
which developed at all my duty stations. Thanks for your interest in Veterans! God Bless!
I want to thank Kathy Groce and her brother, Dennis for sharing their thoughts and feelings with us about their service to their country. It is such an privilege for me to know both of them.
If just for today, I hope that you will honor the Veterans of our country for the sacrifices they have made for us. If you know someone who is a veteran, I hope you call him or her, tell them you care about them and thank them for putting their life on the line for the rest of us. Not every soldier got to come home. Some soldiers’ lives have been forever altered by physical or emotional wounds. If you have the privilege of seeing a veteran today or any day please honor them, thank them and tell them, “Welcome home.”