Wings of the Tern Blog

March 23, 2010

Reflections

Filed under: Current Posting — wingsofthetern @ 11:56 am

I’m sitting in the waiting area at the VA Clinic in Fresno.  I came in today as a follow up with my doctor for a slight case of Pneumonia that I came down with last month.

The other patients that are waiting with me range in age from very old gentlemen to some very young men, a few woman, but most of those are wife’s that came in with their men.  The one thing that all of us have in common is that we are Veterans or retired from the military.

As I study each face, I try and identify what era or war they participated in.  There  still is quit a few old guys from WW II.  Some of the less senior in age are from Korea but the majority seem to be about my age. Vietnam!  It’s curious to me, but most of my age group and the very old guy’s, wear their veteran caps.  These are mostly black base ball hats with the appropriate war stitched on them along with unit insignia and a row of campaign ribbons.  There are some younger men and woman as well.  Some of these are from Desert Storm, but the really young folks are from the current conflict in Afghanistan or Iraq.

I can’t help but think of the day that I visited the LA Induction center for my pre-military physical.  A bunch of young, scared, and half naked recruits waiting in line to be poked an prodded.

Somehow, I feel at home here. That certainly is not a common feeling one has when visiting a private hospital or clinic, but some how things are different here. I guess it’s the kinship that I feel with the rest of the guys.  In one way or the other, we all share a common history.  Sometimes, Lydia’s brother (David), also a Vietnam Veteran, will meet me here for coffee.  At other times, I often will strike up a conversation with one of the other guys here and meet a new friend.

Over the years, we all had heard the horror stories about how bad the VA is, but things are very different today.  The VA has become a very efficient medical system where good care is the norm rather than the exception.  The entire staff is polite and respectful to us.  The first thing out of a doctors mouth is: “Thank you for serving.”

This weeks featured airplane (Aircraft Page) is the NA-16 Basic Trainer (Referenced page 17 in book)

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