A new year is well underway and the CPN Veterans Organization has lots of expectations for this year. I think I’m ready for the changes to come, but only time will tell.

One of the things that interest veterans, and even active-duty military, is the big question: “Why did you join?”

I remember in boot camp, my buddies and I would get together and talk about why we joined. Some said it was a family tradition. Their father, grandfather, uncles and even big brother joined, so naturally they did too. In my platoon, we had some who were given the choice of going to prison or joining the armed forces, some joined while drunk with some buddies, some were looking for travel and adventure or just change. During war time, some felt it was their duty and some were drafted. In my time, I served with circus performers, stage entertainers, millionaires, school dropouts, college graduates, some running away from home troubles. Most found a purpose in their lives.

During war time many didn’t return home or didn’t return as the same person, especially those in combat. In peace time or war time, after military time you are never the same, usually for the better, but not always.

When we get together and talk about our experiences it is a sharing and bonding quality time with brothers and sisters in arms. You have all graduated from being a kid to a full grown veteran. Something you can be proud of. You find a greater appreciation of God, family and country. God bless us all. Migwetch.

Remember the CPN Veterans Organization meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. in the North Reunion Hall on the Potawatomi Powwow Grounds. All CPN veterans and their families are welcome. A meal is provided.