Veterans are often wrapped together into one lump sum and set aside at the same time without much thought to the individual. It is unfair that when a veteran voices their opinion, it’s sometimes conflated to represent veterans as a whole. While we all served our nation, we aren’t one unified school of thought. “As a veteran,” is a common preface to someone’s perspective on given topic. You aren’t speaking for the team. It’s okay to use the “I.”

I don’t know what it is – but there seems to be no shortage of veterans that preface a statement with, “as a veteran,” politically. Well, as a veteran, I don’t necessarily care what you think, as a veteran. I may or may not agree with you, but I want to know what you think, as an individual, not a veteran. It’s just that simple if you’re expressing your opinion. VA and Veteran issues are a different story, to me.

There are so many jobs and experiences in the military that there is no catch-all to sum it up. For the rest of society, it seems a veteran is a veteran, which is a symptom of misunderstanding and a lack of curiosity. I was lucky enough to get enough exposure in time to serve eventually with folks who are heroes; people who inspire others to join, who were there when the fight was at its peak. We can’t pick and choose what happens when we serve, but we can choose whether or not we’ll be boastful.

I don’t know even if I fit into that category or not. I feel somewhat selfish that I’m able to write and get published, primarily because I’m a SOF Veteran. But I have to embrace opportunities as they come in the private sector. I’ll never be able to forget that while I may have done more than some, I’ll never measure up to many. There were operators in my company who had well over ten combat deployments; this was their life. I just showed up in the third quarter, if that.