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I’m Just Here For The Art

July 25, 2018

I felt like an intruder. I really didn’t belong there. No one else cared. But, I cared. I cared a lot.

Twice I walked past the entrance to the USO club at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. It wasn’t that I was hesitant about approaching the nice woman with the nametag Diane. It’s that I trying to decide how much I wanted to see the display.

I have great respect for our military. Probably too much in some people’s view. I’m not one of those people. My father was a private in the United States Army. My brother was an officer in the Army. My daughter is an officer in the Army.

Yeah, I kind of respect the Army a little more than the other branches. But, I respect all of them. They don’t get paid well. They often have terrible working conditions. They work long hours. They have to spend long months away from their family.

There are a few things that members of the military can do that we can’t. One of those things is enter the USO, the United States Service Organization clubs.

They also exchange challenge coins. And while I had a collection of challenge coins that were made for my friend Howard Tayler’s Schlock Universe webcomic…

…they were pale imiitations of the real thing. Coins that the military uses. And the USO club at DFW had an impressive collection.

Excuse me, Diane. Do you know where I could see the collection of challenge coins?

Are you a service member?

No. My daughter is a 1LT in the Army. I was just hoping to be able to get a chance to look at the challenge coins.

I think that would be okay. Just head down these stairs and there is a large display case to the right. There are also several displays on the walls. When you get downstairs just tell them that Diane said it was okay.

The USO club is pretty plain looking place. Nothing super special or overly militaristic. I didn’t leave the lobby. I spent a few minutes enjoying the thousands of challenge coins on display. And then, I excused myself.

I really didn’t belong there.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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