The “Band of Brothers” Has New Members
Most of us are familiar with the story of “Easy Company,” the WWII parachute unit chronicled in the miniseries Band of Brothers. The story is compelling, emotional and a metaphor for how, we as Americans come together with different backgrounds, attitudes, and beliefs to work for a common goal or purpose.
The story is powerful and timeless. But time has an impact on everything, and the Band of Brothers is no exception. Over time, the Brothers have evolved into a family, comprised of mothers, fathers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins and others. What has not changed is the common bond. All these family members are bound together by a sense of duty, love of country, and willingness to put self second to the mission.
For more than two generations our armed forces have been staffed by volunteers. Men and women from all ethnicities have joined together to preserve the society they represent, and to which they intend to return. They have agreed to become a part of a force that is bigger than an individual and to freely surrender measures of freedom we enjoy while doing so.
The transition into uniform is not easy. Basic training stories abound, and everyone has his or her favorites. From hanging out with friends, living with family, and enjoying life to learning to work as a team, the change is radical, sudden and stressing both physically and mentally. But the band is formed, and the members learn and play their parts. Their combined strength keeps us free.
Whether after three years or 33, active service ends for everyone. The transition from the uniform and its attendant lifestyle is often much more difficult than the few weeks of push-ups and verbal abuse of basic training. From a life where everyone knows who their boss is, what the job is, and what to wear to work every day, the transition back into society can become a wilderness. They must find a job, meet the boss, and don a completely new mode of dress. Salaries are negotiated; working hours are fixed; medical and dental care are no longer just a trip to the base hospital. In short, everything changes, and the changes often change again.
What doesn’t change is membership in the family. The call to service doesn’t always end when the uniform comes off. Veterans groups abound with one mission -- that of serving those who have come after, who have served or still serve all of us. At Still Serving Veterans we are dedicated to assisting in the transition from active duty to society, and of helping veterans and families find good jobs. Veterans all, we have navigated our paths through the wilderness, and work daily with those in the process.
The Band of Brothers has indeed grown to family size, but the underpinnings have held fast. Young and old, active and past active service, our family embraces our kindred. We are all Veterans, proud and dedicated to be Still Serving Veterans.
Reflection by Danny Lindsey (US Army Retired), Veteran Employment Services Manager - Huntsville, firstname.lastname@example.org