When you live in a purely civilian community were there is no obvious military presence, retired soldiers are kind of an oddity. The civilians ask you questions but they don't get it when if comes to the military. So I have enrolled the Colonel in remedial civilian training. She had a four day weekend over Memorial Day weekend and we worked hard on her military-to-civilian indoctrination. First off no uniform wearing, and no talking about the Air Force-- shop-talk was not allowed. There was no watching the Military Channel on TV. We did watch the Memorial Day concert on the steps of the US Capital, but that was a Veteran thing, not a military thing.
The Colonel wore civilian cloths, not to include any of the many t-shirts she has with Air Force logos on them. This was not anti-military training; that will never be our desire. This was “getting ready to be a civilian” training. It is OK not to come to attention in your living room when the Air Force song is played on TV. We talked about when I would remove the 50 caliber machine gun rack off the top of her Hummer vehicle, but we set no firm date for removal. Don't want to push the stress button too soon. The brackets on the front bumper of her truck used to hold the flags will stay on for a little while longer. You never know when you could be in a veteran / military parade.
We are going to start emptying some of the sandbags we have filled and stacked up, ready to go just in case. Both of the family dogs will convert to being pets and we will drop the K9 working dog title for Maggie and Libby, our four legged babies. The family dinning room will no longer be referred to as the chow hall. We had civilian friends at our home during the weekend, people who had never been in the military.
We talked about civilian things. The civilian in training must be working a little because, come Tuesday morning, a duty day for the Colonel, I had to push her out into the garage and gently force her into her vehicle. She did not want to go back to the Big Air Force. There is no doubt she is ready to retire and take off the uniform she has worn for almost 30 years. Now as long as Korea does not turn into a shooting war and stop-loss does not force her to stay on active duty, I believe we are headed to retirement and the land of civilians. We are holding our breath.