Much has been said and written about what or who is a "Veteran". I'd like to take the word "Veteran" down to what I feel is its basic ingredient.
A Veteran is someone who has answered the call to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America by taking the following oath:
Veterans come from all walks of life,
They can be found in every corner of the globe.
Most are US citizens, many become US citizens,
Some die before that process is completed,
Many are still waiting to come home,
They are POW's or MIA's,
We call them "Brother"
Those who die for our brothers in the service of our country we call "Heroes".
Those who serve are called Veterans.
I first took that oath at the Armed Forces Entrance and Examining Station in Boise, Idaho on September 13, 1967 and repeated that oath five times before retiring from active military service on December 31, 1990. I did not then, nor do I now take that oath lightly.
Joseph J. Wilson, Jr.
Sergeant First Class, United States Army (Retired)
(27 May 2009)