I never served in a war, but I have listened to those who did and I believe there is a vast, unchangeable gulf between us. Most of us are grateful for their service, some will thank them, many will pray for them, and a few will just be glad to have a three-day weekend. However, I think it's different for veterans.
Most veterans I know are reluctant to speak about their war time experiences. I think veterans hang out with other veterans because they are the only people who can understand what they went through. The rest of us, no matter how much we care about them, are separated by that big, invisible gulf.
On the rare occasions when they do open up, they seem puzzled, mystified by it all. Why did they live, when their friends died? Why did some come back wounded or paralyzed, while others went unscathed?
These aren't the sort of questions anyone ever answers, no matter how many years they have to think about it. But I think our veterans keep turning these questions over and over in their minds, year after year. Contemplating the dead, and wondering...always wondering.