It has been over a week now. The Veterans Day parade came and went, and Ranger wonders how many folks in long-term Department of Veterans Affairs care were visited by any patriots in their fervor on that day.
The floats and flags are now stowed and those of us veterans with disabilities continue to do what we do since we are obligated to be disabled 365 days of the year. Even watching a fancy parade down main street will not un-disable us. The problem is, we hide on the side streets and back alleys beyond the recognition of society.
Aside from the photo ops fronting the local section of the paper on such days that make us feel like we are actually recognizing in any meaningful way the life of a soldier, most of us keep to ourselves because you do not really want to know what's behind that grand concept, patriotism. So veterans become this shunted off group of untouchables who fraternize at hooches and tell tall tales and drink too much, or they shop late at night to avoid too much sensory input, or, after a period of alienation, manage to compartmentalize war and not look in that room too often, if they are lucky. Then they look like you, and you feel more comfortable.
That is where the parades pass us by. They are taking us to the wrong destination, a Disneyland called "Patriotic".
Ranger calls it "idiotic".
NOTE: If you want to actually meet a veteran and have a DVA hospital or outpatient clinic in your area, we highly encourage you to visit and volunteer, if you have that leisure. You will learn far more about the patriotic experience than any parade will give you.