You will know him when you see him. He (or she) may be 22, 52, or 92. He may be of any race, color, or creed. He may be wearing a hat or sporting a tattoo signifying his era or branch in the military. He's a veteran.
His memories may be old, but they are still fresh in his mind. They may be of Normandy Beach, on a ship at Okinawa, Heartbreak Ridge, Mekong River, Grenada, Iraq, or Afghanistan.
He wont ask for much, probably nothing at all. Like the vast majority of his comrades, he is disillusioned by the current happenings in the country he sacrificed a portion of his years to defend. He turns off MSNBC on the national scene, and reads with warranted disdain the defense of certain Washington officials and the criticism of others in letters in his local paper written by the oxymoron of ''progressive thinkers''. He understands, that for the most part, those liberal letter writers are not at all like him or his fellow comrades. They are not veterans. He knows they never served, never gave, never sacrificed.
Yet, he is still proud, but not in a boastful way. He hopes his beloved country will turn around someday, and he will still be here to see it happen.
When you see him, you'll know what to do. A long conversation is not necessary. You don't need to even ask his name or branch of the service. Simply walk up to him, extend you hand, smile and say, "Thank you for your service to our country.'' It's that simple. It will make the both of you feel good. As one who has been on both sides of this sort of transaction, I can attest to that personally.
Don't forget thank a vet.
David A. Morgan, Fishers Ferry, Veteran, U.S. Navy