I was in the Army for 4 years myself. Due to my wallet being stolen at Ft Knox, Kentucky, I do not have a single photo of myself in uniform. It's okay, the memories are enough. Some good, some bad, some funny, some sad, like every other living situation we all experience.
Writing of sad, the most difficult for me during this time the night of March 27, 1977. I had just returned to Fort Dix, New Jersey from a week at home in Ohio. That night, I pulled CQ of the lab at Walson Army Hospital. We spent the entire night receiving patients flown in to McGuire Air Force Base. (McGuire and Dix were separated only by a fence.) These were people being brought in from the aviation disaster on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Hundreds of people lost their lives in what remains the deadliest plane crash in history. US servicemen were unloading the 'lesser' burned and injured people and flying the most critically injured on to the (renowned) burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
Tragically, some people who were pulled out alive died enroute to New Jersey. As lab CQ, I held the keys to the morgue, too, and accompanied those people to the basement. One of the victims, still with an IV in her arm, was burned so badly I couldn't tell at first if she was a man or a woman. The smells. The sights. The sounds. The phone calls from families. The news media. That night was incredible - and it was one night, safe in the States and not in a war zone!
I think many people do not comprehend the sheer amount and weight of responsibility borne by those in our Armed Forces - and often at quite a young age. But thankfully, many of us do.
I gladly - APPRECIATIVELY - join millions of others in saying to our military, "WE SALUTE YOU!"