Definition of a Veteran

legionI recall that a few weeks after the Island first issued the Veteran License plates,  the deputy major of Charlottetown was complaining. The city had authorized free parking thru the month of December if you had a veteran plate. However the deputy major wrote a letter to the editor stating that only real veterans should have these plates. I responded by asking him to define what a real veteran was??? No Reply ever came. I’m copying below what I consider a very good definition of a veteran from an article in the Huffington Post

Do You Know What Defines a Veteran? It’s Not Just Combat

There are nearly 750,000 Canadian Forces and RCMP Veterans; 100,000 Canadian Forces members (Regular and Reserve Forces) and 23,000 members of the RCMP.

Doing the math, you get approximately 900,000 and growing. Call it a million for the sake of convenience and you find that 1 in 35 Canadians is a veteran.

If that number seems high, think about how you define a veteran. To many people, a veteran is someone from WWII or Korea. Yes, those men are veterans. But they are not the ONLY veterans. In fact, WWII and Korea service personnel only account for 11 per cent of the total veteran population.

Some argue that combat is what defines a veteran. Think about that for a minute and you’ll realize that such a definition overlooks all the logistics, support, medical, and other personnel. Think about all the aircraft mechanics required in WWII — are they not veterans? Of course they are.

There are all the peacekeeping missions — 33 so far. Let’s not forget that peacekeeping doesn’t mean picket duty; some of those missions were so close to war that only legal definitions can make the distinction. On top of that is the witnessing of genocide in Rwanda, the Balkans, and other places, usually with the inability to respond and defend the victims. Peacekeepers are some of the most scarred of all veterans, but the wounds are often mental.

Don’t forget all the Cold War veterans either: those men and women who trained constantly for Iron Curtain to be overrun, for Soviets pouring over the pole, for full-scale invasion of North America. Remember the Atomic Veterans; those who participated in A-bomb tests and cleaning up nuclear spills. There are all the veterans who never went outside of Canada, but nonetheless served us: doing search and rescue, disaster relief, defending our boarders at sea and in the arctic — countless missions within Canadian territory yet far from the troop’s homes. And — last but not least — there are the Afghanistan veterans.

Don’t overlook the RCMP either. Many Canadians forget that the Mounted is a paramilitary organization. They aren’t so much a police force as a home guard. While they handle policing and security, they serve under almost identical rules to the Forces. They also get sent all over the world: South Sudan, the West Bank, Haiti, the DRC, and yes, Afghanistan as well. Remember when there was a big fuss made about the end of combat operations and the transition to training Afghan police? Guess who got that job? Plus the Mounted also does a lot of high-risk, death-defying work at home in search and rescue, border patrol, maintaining a presence in the remotes corners of our nation.

Of course, part of the problem with understanding that figure has to do with semantics. How do you define “veteran”? We can all give examples of veterans, but even the Minister of Veterans Affairs seems to have trouble figuring out what constitutes a veteran. Even veterans sometimes have trouble figuring it out. I frequently get questions like ‘I served for 10 years but was never sent overseas. Am I a veteran?’ Yes, yes you are.

It has taken Our Duty a long time to distill down the different kinds of service, find the common ground, and render this clear, concise definition:

“A veteran is anyone who took an oath to be ordered to die for Canada — generally in the Forces or RCMP. Becoming a veteran takes place at the time of the oath.”

God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in HM Submarines, HMS Cockade, hms ganges, military, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Definition of a Veteran

  1. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    Bravo Zulu Ben. Great article!! On the lighter side of life.
    An inshore fisherman was walking along North Rustico beach when he saw a brass object protruding from the sand. He dug it out and turned out to be a lamp.. He gave it rub and out popped a genie who told him he had one wish only. The fisherman thought for a while and then
    wished for “eternal life”. The genie said unfortunately that wish cannot be granted by me, make one that I can grant!! The fisherman again thought deeply and the asked the genie, “I do not wish to die until the Liberal or Conservative governments of PEI balance the budget and get rid of poverty” The genie threw down his lamp and said “you are a crafty and savvy fisherman.”

  2. irishroverpei says:

    Ha Ha!!!! I received this joke in the emails this morning and had already put my own interpretation on the ending for tomorrows blog!!

  3. Pingback: Who is a Veteran?A Major Legion Problem) | The Irish Rover's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.