I went last night to a meeting of the Disabled American Veterans; I’m a life member of this veterans service organization. Capital City Chapter 3 has been a group I’ve admired for a while, because they actually DO something for our military, past and present. Some gatherings of vets, I’ve discovered, seem more interested in having a good time around a bar than in helping their comrades in arms.
The meeting was a lot of business, with laughter interspersed. A good spirit in the room. There were a few heated conversations, but I began to realize that the rising blood pressure and the reddening faces meant that those men cared deeply about what was being discussed. Every one of them was passionate about the group’s mission: to make sure that those who’ve been wounded by war receive the best our nation has to give.
And then I remembered that it was a DAV chapter out in Seattle that welcomed me on a cold and dreary September day in 1999. I was at my lowest…one of the deepest, darkest places I’ve ever known. I’d been through a year of losing just about everything I thought I needed to survive. And as I staggered into that office in the Pacific Northwest, I felt the compassion as the members listened and guided me to a safe place.
Last night, I sensed that same spirit, as the group addressed one issue after another. All related to problems and challenges facing veterans of all ages, but especially focused on those still on active duty, many of whom are trying to transition back into civilian life. The warriors and their families bear the scars of battle, and my chapter almost shouted their support and their passionate concern for the well being of the ones we’ve sent to defend freedom around the world.
As I drove home, I thanked God for my DAV chapter. And I prayed that this same enthusiasm and commitment would mark the way we all treat those coming home from war…or service anywhere.