I made my monthly visit to the V.A. hospital for my blood test.
I only go so they can test and see if the dosage for the blood thinner is correct. While sitting in the waiting room at the blood lab, I started noticing things all around me.
First thing I noticed was that there was a LOT more people than normal waiting. I don't know if the economy is causing an increase in people using V.A., or if all the sudden there are more vets getting checked. One of the blood techs did say that there seemed to be more patients than usual lately.
Secondly, I noticed that there was a wide range of ages. Young guys, old guys, and all the in-between guys! There were guys that looked healthy, and others that didn't look that good. Young and old, all were either fast walking, slow walking, walking with canes and walkers, and some not walking at all, but were riding in wheel chairs.
You see all races in the waiting room. Black, White, Latin, Oriental, and Native American. There is always a good number of women as well. I think that we sometimes forget about the number of women that proudly served in the Armed services, nearly all were volunteers.
The guys sitting there were dressed in a varied manner as well. Some wearing suits and ties, some in khakis, some in jeans, some in very obvious clothes from thrift shops and even those in very ragged, worn out garb. But the clothing was clean, regardless of it's condition.
Probably the main thing that stood out the most was that all of these vets were sitting there with their heads held high. They sat there PROUD. It didn't matter what their financial status was, they were there in the company of fellow Vets! Men and women that shared some of the same experiences, the same ups and downs, the same weaknesses and strengths that can only come from situations that would never be understood or lived by anyone but a vet!
Suddenly, I was both humbled and proud to be in that waiting room with all those vets, those warriors from past battles, both long ago and recent. Most of the battles were physical, but some were fought in the memories and minds of a few vets.
Most faces, both young and old, were lined with the map of the emotions often felt. Lines that traced the joy and happiness, as well as the sadness and sorrows. More importantly, the lines were very obvious on nearly all of the faces I saw, told me the story of smiles...many smiles. In fact, there was no shortage of smiles in the waiting room as we sat there.
Amazingly, as I sat there I was overcome with a feeling of peace, taking comfort in just being in the company of these men and women. Even though none of us had met, we were friends! Even though we had never met, we were BROTHERS ! I only wish I had the words and the ability to share that feeling. I don't...
Some of you will understand, some never will ! Again, I'm sorry...
Now what do you say to a fresh, hot cup of coffee, my friend? Oh, and please bring your smile, OK? OK!