Thanksgiving on Leave
by Elspeth Cameron Ritchie
April 25, 2018
About 1 percent of the population has served in the military.
That's a very small percent and the 1% are all volunteers, many of whom have come from military families themselves. So there's no question that there's a large gulf between the military and the civilian population in most areas. Now if you are living in Fayetteville North Carolina and Fort Bragg’s right there, then that's a military town, if you are a civilian you know it. But if you're living in Los Angeles or New York City, you may not know anybody who’s a service member and that sort of experience is very far away from you which makes it all the more important. In addition to add to that we've been at war since 9/11— that's coming on 17 years and so many in the population have not known anything but that set of wars, either as military where you deploy over and over and over again, or as a civilian who has grown up since 9/11 with that day in your consciousness but none of the consequence afterwards.
Let me give one personal example that I think will resonate, certainly with other military. I was just back from Iraq and I came home for Thanksgiving and I was having Thanksgiving with my family. And the main topic of conversation was the sales on the day after Thanksgiving and I just just didn't know what to say.
I couldn't talk to them. Well I've seen death and destruction, and I had great times riding around in choppers over the Iraqi desert with a full moon. There's such a disconnect. So again, important for your readers to figure out who the veterans are, and how to talk to them.