“I was fortunate enough to have served in the Army from Sept 2010 to March 2014, although I left the Army sooner than I wanted too, I am truly honored to have been able to serve. Like most, I enlisted in the Army seeking something more out of life. I was about to graduate college and was not sure of my future. My younger brother had been in the Army for over a year and it seemed like something I would enjoy. I looked into my options and decided to become a medic. Part of me joined for the experience, other parts wanted to join for the challenge, but mostly I joined because it felt like the right thing to do.
Being a part of the military was much like every team I had ever been a part of – everyone had a role. It was simple: do your part, know everybody else’s job, be prepared and be accountable. Little would I know that when I was injured it was my infantry platoon mates who would help patch me up, the medic.
Looking back, now almost two years out I begin to see things differently. I realize how much I took for granted the family and friends you meet along the way and the incredibly strong bonds forged through combat and hardship that seem to be void in your life. Being a civilian is much different because you find yourself constantly silently correcting misrepresentations of the military, whether it is in the news, entertainment, or somebody assuming because you served you saw combat. You awkwardly thank people who don you a hero or thank you for your service, knowing you were nothing special and did no more than those next to your side. In many regards I guess this is what it is like to be a veteran, wishing you could be back with your brothers in arms, yet content with your civilian lifestyle.
When people say happy Veterans Day, you truly question what they mean. Are they acknowledging the living or mourning the fallen? Do they know why November 11 is Veterans Day? To me, veterans day is a time of reflection and acknowledging what it meant to serve, and the commitment those who have donned the uniform made for their country, not themselves. They put an entire nation’s needs above their own, regardless of their job, deployments or combat experience, these men and women chose to serve selflessly and put their futures in the hands of our nation’s leaders ready to serve wherever ordered. It is humbling to know people like that still exist.”
– U.S. Army Spc. Calvin Todd
*In the week leading up to Veterans Day (Nov. 11th), we will be sharing the stories of veterans who have played in the Shootout for Soldiers. Our hope is that these stories will cut through the one-day patriotism, big-box retail sales and hollow rhetoric that dominates Veterans Day, and instead shares the stories of our veterans from our veterans. A special thanks goes to all of the veterans who have graciously shared their stories with us.*