Having never served I have no direct experience as a Soldier or Veteran, and like all other good Americans, I salute them today and every day for the sacrifices they make.  I grew up a military brat, and have spent the vast majority of my adult life working and living in Central Texas, a community largely defined by our omnipresent military friend and neighbor, Fort Hood.  That being said, I would like to take a different approach to this Veterans Day and, as opposed to the regular salutation offered by so many, I want to throw out a few civilian observations I’ve made over the years.

Number 1:  that military spouse that stays home works just as hard as you do.  That person is a veteran too – of numerous moves and deployments and long nights waiting by the phone.  Don’t ever say a military spouse is “not working”.  Nothing is farther from the truth.

Number 2:  When dealing with an officer in the military, you better have your facts straight.  I promise you, if the guy sitting across from you has bars or stars, he probably spent last night researching you and your whole industry.  That being said, if you do have your act together and answers to the deluge of questions you’ll get, then you will have a client for life.

Number 3:  I’ve found that enlisted soldiers will not only be clients for life but friends as well.  They’ll have your back, call you out on your b.s., and might keep you out too late.  On that note, never offer to buy beers for an enlisted man who just got back from a few years in Germany.  You don’t have the time or the money, I promise you!

Number 4:  Warrants have the best stories.  That is all.

Number 5:  That Vietnam Vet?  Yeah, the older guy with the hat on?  He can still kick your butt.  Don’t try to find out.

Number 6:  Don’t ever, and I mean ever, play poker across from a WWII vet.  If there was ever a guy who knows when you’re lying, it’s him.  He will call you.

Thank you to all who serve and their families that put up with it.  Thank you even more for the culture of honor and respect that you bring to Central Texas.  And, on a personal level, thank you for becoming my friends, for being people I can rely on, for being equal parts sound advice and bad influence, for early mornings on the golf course and late nights at the poker table.

You all rock and I hope you have the best day ever.

M