From the Citizen and Soldier side: (Please feel free to leave your comments. If I don't like em', I'll just remove them). OK I've' had a few friends and what nots ask me some questions about an assortment of things. Since I've been a cop, I've gotten used to dumbass questions like: "Have you ever had to shoot anyone?" I usually look back at them with a totally straight face and say: "Not in a few weeks...why do you know someone who is in need?"
Same crap when I got back from Iraq. We were at the range the other day (I'm a range master for the Police Dept) and a couple of the very young dispatchers came out to shoot. (I am in agreement that police dispatchers should be armed.) Now, keep in mind, I'll tell you war sucks. One of the few things I agree with McCain on is: anyone who thinks war is good is full of crap or a fraud....I'm sure he didn't say it that way, but you get the idea.
Anyway, I'm showing one of the officers something on the M-4 Carbine. And one of the dispatchers ask me: "How many people did you kill in Iraq?"
That caught me off guard. Then I realized that she, like most Americans have no idea what the troops (Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force) do in Iraq. They don't understand that the military is made up of a lot of jobs. Their are people from payroll clerks to mechanics. (although Kellogg Brown and Rot are taking a lot of these jobs on-- for a great profit)
I just looked at her and said: "Oh, I just repaired mess kits." and went back to showing the rookie officer how to shoot the darn weapon straight.
If you know a vet from one of the recent events, don't assume anything. For one thing, if they survived Iraq, they did something right...the rest of their lives will be a cake walk compared to that place. But, take the time to ask them what they did...don't be a dumbass and ask how many people they killed.
I spent a year in Iraq. I carried or wore 35 pounds of body armor, an M-4, 9 magazines, an M-9 with 7 mags, first aid kit, water, helmet, goggles etc. I finally realized if I was going to die, it was going to be a mortar or an IED. I'd not get shot at and get to return fire. So, I carried all that shit just to get hot and tired each day.
(For the record, I didn't kill anyone there....I set it up for the shooters to do that.)
Treat your friends and family like you love them. Treat each day like it's that last day you'll ever see them... take care of them. You never know when you're going to get called away.