Every year around Veteran's day, I am asked to write a service members' story. This year, I interviewed a 63 year old woman. She told me how she volunteered for Vietnam, despite having a high draft number that made it very unlikely she'd ever be called up to fight.
Nonetheless she joined the Marines, understanding that she might be killed in combat like the 58,220 other souls who died as part of that conflict. However, after surviving her Vietnam-era service and several more combat deployments after that, she made a decision.
She decided, if she was going to continue to live, it would be as the woman she always knew she was. She would eventually retire from the Marines as a signal intelligence electronic warfare chief. Now, working as a government contractor, she tells me that she has been working in defense of this country for the last 45 years.