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In 2007 I went to a NC VA hospital to register and get in the VA system. In 2015, they finally mailed me my VA ID. They used the May 2007 picture of me with the beard I grew out when I was working overseas in the Middle East.

In 2015 they finally called me on the phone and left a voicemail asking if I still wanted to stay with the NC VA hospital and letting me know that someone would call me back to talk about it. They never called back.

To date I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ever used my veteran status for anything, mostly because I could never prove it due to not having an ID and not wanting to drag around a certified copy of my DD214 with me everywhere. Sometimes it feels like the country I fought for forgets I exist.