So, with my recent wave of veteran’s advocacy, I’ve found myself at the center of an unusual (for me) predicament. My little sister is the “person of the week” in her first grade class, and has invited me to be her terminal show-and-tell subject on Friday. I have to say, I’m a bit nervous.
See, I come from a more affluent and highly self-segregated community that generally frowns on military service; “smart” kids go to college, and the military is reserved for the less privileged (read poor and minority) members of the community/society. Well, I guess I fit the bill there; my family is pretty poor. Despite my town being on the conservative side, it’s just something other people do while the community offers very silent support/lack of opposition.
Anyway, as you might imagine, I may be the first real interaction these kids have had with a vet. That’s a big order for me, personally. I remember it was a visit to the local Air National Guard base that got me hooked in third or fourth grade, and the smaller they are, the more impressionable kids get. The last thing I want to do is sound like I’m selling these kids into the agoge or something. Even more though, I’m afraid of being boring.
See, I never crawled around in trenches shooting guns at people. I looked at computer monitors and told pilots where to place their bombs. Hell, how do you tell a kid your job was to hunt down and kill people, and from 3000 miles away no less? I think I can get around this by showing off a few photos and other souvenirs I’ve collected, including my challenge coins and toy models of the aircraft I used.