Some veterans bear
visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a
certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a
pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or
perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the
refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however,
the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.
You can’t tell a vet just by looking.
What is a vet? He is
the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two
gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out
of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks,
whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the
cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.