As a United States citizen that has lived his whole life as a civilian, I will always respect the men and women that are willing to put on a uniform and become part of the military. They will experience life on a level that I will never be able to understand or comprehend. When they serve, they are putting their very lives on the line and accepting the possibility of not returning home. And some of those same men and women that return home will deal with a lifelong struggle of trying to adapt back to civilian life while having to cope with the trauma they suffered during their service to the country. Whether a person believes in war or not is irrelevant when it comes to the respect a veteran deserves and should receive. This also does not excuse the terrible atrocities that at times are committed in war. But a man or woman that puts on a uniform and serves a country to the point of being recognized as a veteran is more than worthy of my gratitude and appreciation.
I’ve had family members who served in World War II and the Vietnam War. When they shared their accounts, I was always attentive and desired to learn as much as I could. But I never pressed them further than what they were naturally willing to share. It’s interesting because as many war documentaries and movies as I have watched, the real horrors of war never became as clear to me as when I started playing games such as Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, and Battlefield. In these games, you can respawn or start the level over. But real life doesn’t work that way. I don’t know why it hit home for me even harder with video games than with the actual war footage but perhaps the interactive element and the ability to take control of the soldiers in the game made it more real for me. That’s why simulations can be very powerful (especially the beginning of Battlefield 1). Through playing military sim games, I’ve really come to appreciate to a higher degree how seriously devastating war is.
As a result, I’m more appreciative of men and women in uniform than ever before. It’s crazy how video gaming is connected to how I’m looking at Veterans Day this year. It couldn’t be helped, especially with all of the first-person shooters I play. I just want to give a huge “Thank You” to all of the veterans for all that they’ve given of themselves to the service of our country. Happy Veterans Day.