This question came up at school a few days ago. Grade three students seemed to have difficulty understanding the meaning of veteran. I can understand their confusion, I have been confused myself. I served for 12 years in the Royal Navy most of that time in submarines. I also served a further 12 years in the RCN reserve. In 1967 in Dartmouth Nova Scotia I asked to join the local legion branch and was turned down. Why? because I had not served in a theatre of war. Apparently the Legion considered themselves quite an exclusive club in those days. Nevertheless, it did effect how I looked upon my own military service, was I really a veteran or just a person who had been in the Navy? The Legion’s requirements was nonsense of course, any one who served their country was entitled to call themselves a veteran. Today the Legion will take civilians in as associate members, they need the numbers as the older members die off. But the Legion does not own or decide who is entitled to be called veteran. I served at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, probably the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear world war, in fact perhaps the end of the world as we know it. I didn’t shoot at anyone and no one shot at me, but my shipmates and I were there and the danger was very real. Servicemen and women often face dangers during their service whether in peace time or war. Sailing in a world war two submarine in the 1960’s was inherently dangerous just by the fact that at any moment something could fail. So yes, I consider myself and all other retired military people to be veterans. We have been there at the sharp end when it counted, and our troops continue to do so.
On 11th November please remember all our veterans.
God Bless and keep reading.