Hunting finds strange new respect
An early end to my hunting season

Veterans Day as a civilian

A year ago I was preparing for my final Veterans Day observance in uniform.  I had a fresh haircut, shaved and showered, and played "Taps" at the Veteran's Memorial west of the state Capitol.

When I go today, I will still wear my field jacket, but it has a "retiree" patch added to it.  I will also have a beard.

My military retirement was not something I thought about much.  It always seemed over the horizon, something I would deal with when it got closer.  As I reached my 20th year of service, I realized that it was closer than I thought, and began to think about when I would leave.  I began some tentative planning, but the military's illogical (and illegal) reaction to Covid forced a rapid acceleration of my plans.

Hence the repeated applications.

I'm becoming used to civilian life.  I particularly enjoyed the lack of drill requirements during the summer and fall.   I finally cut my hair in September, and growing it out was partly a rebellion against grooming standards, and partly curiosity to see how much I still had left.  Turned out, it was more than I thought.

It was a strange sensation, and for much of this year I felt as though I had awakened from a long (and not entirely unpleasant) dream.  Retirement was something of a time warp - you get in as a young man and come out old.  My children have no recollection of me being a civilian and for the vast majority of our marriage, my wife has been a military spouse.

Almost a year later, we're mostly settled in to the new routine.  Today marks one of the last "firsts" in the retirement calendar, which is entirely appropriate.



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