The Eternal Veteran sees life through a barrel of a gun. His military service is his main source of pride, but when he considered all the wars and operations he missed since his discharge he becomes a bit bitter, blaming the army for not understanding his full potential. He had so much to give, but they did not want to take, which is why things were not so good at the army ever since. Or at least that is the way the Eternal Veteran understands it. One way or another, in his mind he was never discharged. He still lives the service, and for some reason the enemy line is still somewhere in the horizon.
Sitting behind the wheel of his green Wrangler, the Eternal Veteran will always hum some old march that goes very well with the roaring engine. Often he may stop his giant machine in the middle of the street to start a chat with a stranger which he believes he met in Saigon some thirty-five years ago. If he is right (and this is rarely the case), a huge smile would appear under his moustache, his eyes would open wide, and a wave of nostalgia would flash him and his new brother-in-arms. They are twenty again and looking for “Charlie”, something that a stranger will never understand.
But do not be afraid from his militant appearance; the Eternal Veteran is friendly and peaceful, knowing that his main job today is to represent the great values of the corps. However, unless you are familiar with his terminology and numerous abbreviations it may be impossible to follow his fast talk. That is why most of his buddies are also members of the NRA and every other veteran association he could possibly find, where they all remain Army or Navy, companies or squads, complaining about “this goddamn liberal government we have” and petting the revolvers behind each other’s beer bellies.
The Eternal Veteran’s wife got already used for the Rambo poster hanged in their bedroom. She would prefer not to get replies like “roger and out”, “it’s classified” or “I’m patrolling at the mall, darling”, but at least she managed to convince him not to demand the kids to call him “sir”.
Every little thing in life reminds him of the “good old days” and brings up a story, where, of course, the Eternal Veteran has saved the day one more time. A visitor to his house will never miss a guided tour in the Eternal Veteran’s gun cabinet, accompanied by the latter’s experiences from his last hunting trip and/or drill in the National Guard. The stories are quite colourful, but perhaps they are the reason that no one ever comes to sleep over by his kids. Actually, no one ever comes to his house and hardly to his Chrysler garage, as most people do not like to be questioned about their past and possible connections to the KGB.
It is comforting to know that some Eternal Veterans live among us. Have respect for them, but try not to get between their sights.
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