Not all veterans are alike. Yes, veterans are veterans, and all have given a part of themselves for this great Nation.
However, each generation of veteran has its own alligator to wrestle. Each generation is unique, and in so being, craves the camaraderie of others who have lived through similar or same experiences. Whereas all veterans have an enormous amount in common with each other, there are significant differences that are truly unique enough to set each generation apart.
Those veterans who have gone before us have been the role models that we have emulated; they trained us, mentored us, and passed the torch to us so that we can carry on our fight for freedom. They protected us when we returned, determined that we would be received as heroes, instead of viewed as criminals and miscreants as was my father’s generation. However, those generations will never fully understand what it is this generation experienced, any more than we can possibly understand the experiences of Operation Overlord at Normandy, fighting for terrain at the battles of Pork Chop Hill in Korea, or the surprise of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. No, this generation needs its own identity, and needs to be with veterans who understand EXACTLY what his brother has gone through, and more specifically, what alligators he wrestles.
This question has been put to our club a number of times, and frankly, we find it humorous and annoying that people will attempt to become part of us, but then try to dictate their definitions of terms to us. Every year, we get some idiot who follows the same crash-and-burn cycle of trying to demand that his service makes him our brother.
This really gets a bit old, so before you make yourself look foolish, read this. We have a motto: “Brothers in war. Brothers in peace. Desert Era Veterans for Desert Era Veterans.”
We coined this motto for a reason, and it has a meaning to us. If you don’t like our meaning, we’re not particularly concerned - it only goes to prove one thing:
YOU ARE NOT OUR BROTHER.