We served in different wars, in a different time and place. The weapons have changed, the vehicles are stronger and faster, the equipment more advanced. The faces have changed, and the mission looks different. But the service is the same, the brotherhood hasn’t changed. The reasons for joining may be different, and yet somehow the same.
I will never walk the path you walked, nor see the things your eyes have seen. It’s a different kind of battle we fight now, but our stories sound the same. It’s a story of wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, of finding our belonging in a family we never expected.
I went to a Veteran’s Day dinner at an assisted living community, where my mom works. I sat among the residents there, mostly veterans from the era of World War II. There are so few of these soldiers from the “Greatest Generation” left, and I was in complete awe and reverence to be among so many that night.
There was one who stood out to me. Of among twenty-five names being listed in honor that night, there was one female veteran. Her name was Elly Eakins. I don’t know her story, what she saw, or what she did during her time of service, but we are sisters. Our service looks different, the wars are different now, but we share a connection. Her generation, among the first of women serving in the armed forces, helped paved the way for women like me to be able to serve. She was the first World War II female veteran I had the honor of meeting in person, and it reminded me of the privilege I have when I wear my uniform. Some days I struggle, but at dinner I was reminded. It’s much bigger than me. There is a history in service, and the story will continue for generations long after I hang up my uniform for the last time.
Remembering the View,