I’ve asked the following question these last few days…
… what do you understand by the term veteran?
Thank you all for the interesting responses from far afield. Seems to me the word has slightly different connotations… depending on where you live. Folk who live in countries that have recent involvement in conflict situations seem to go directly to the meaning I’ve been looking for… and here I’m going to use an i-net definition…
The thing is… the definition above seems heavily slanted to the USA interpretation. That said, I understand why. The i-net is really based there, isn’t it? But, in a way, that suits the reason for asking the question and also my line of thought when it comes to my answer.
You see, I could be classed as a veteran. I served my country’s military for more than sixteen years – in conflict situations too. So, if I use some of the interpretations, I could be classed as a war veteran. A concept to which I haven’t ever really paid much heed. I suppose I’ve always thought of South African war veterans as folk who returned from battle in the World Wars or the Korean conflict.
But… as of late, I have been wondering about many things. So, here’s what some of my wondering has led to…
… if you move away from your country of birth, do you retain your veteran status?
So… a soldier/ sailor/ airman who served in an UK unit retires to Spain, how many of the veteran’s associations will honour his UK status? The UK to Spain is a short hop, so I assume the veteran will retain most of his or her status. However, if a veteran moves halfway around the world, will there still be assistance for said veteran in times of need?
I really can’t answer… but I’m inquisitive to find out more about the situation in my own case. We left South Africa more than 18 years ago… losing touch with our roots – me often wondering about what had happened to my friends from that era. Me now wondering if I still retain any veteran status?
This is where the answer to the question is leading… I’d be interested to know how many other folk are in the same shoes… ex-SA military members now in Europe… or even further afield! I’d love to establish contact – especially with folk in Western Europe. Time will reveal if we can establish a platform… but be sure to watch this space. I’ll soon have a suggestion of how we can retain quick and easy i-net contact – and do so in a pleasurable way – with no ties that bind!
The photo was taken at the Irish War Memorial – a few days after a wreath laying ceremony. I was struck by the South African wreath – the wilted protea and the SA Colours ribbon. Please don’t tell anybody… I nicked a bit of that ribbon… for posterity!