The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.


-db Conard, The Quill

A place to call home

Last Thursday evening I stopped with a friend at the local bowling alley where I met three veterans from Viet Nam, one of whom had been based out of the same airfield I had.

Better yet, he knew of about six other local men who also had been based out of this some what remote airfield in Phu Bai, Viet Nam.

Within a very short time after arriving in town, I met more veterans in one day, than I had in most of the years since arriving back in the States.

It is hard to describe the sense of being back in the neighborhood I felt from simple conversations with these men.

We had all gone through the same school of a foreign experience and lived, and for the most part, it bonded us.

It was an immediate sense of belonging, or I guess you could say, I felt at home. My perception is that most folks take for granted what home can mean

For a moment, I had jumped over all the "You're not from around here are you?" statements, to the "How long have you lived here?" qualifiers.

These veterans were accepting me in the same way I was accepting them. "You aren't from here!" wasn't even a thought, because we had all shared a time together defending our various homes. Belonging to the community was now a little less complicated.

What I am trying to get to, is that sense of being at home in a community and feeling welcomed rather than looked upon as a stranger wherever you might live.

It's a struggle that career military families have.

I am a fourth generation military man and to feel this sense of community I got from fellow Viet Nam veterans was heartwarming.

I believe this could be a solution to the large number of military retirees that really have no where to call home.

It's easy to find somewhere to live, but a house isn't what makes the kind of home I'm talking about, but it is the attitude of the community that surrounds those homes.

It's the community who makes you feel as though you belong or don't belong and most communities could use work on being hospitable.

It can turn a place from being just a place where your house is, into an altogether more meaningful place called home.

It is so different from a house that just sits on dirt, with a bunch of others nearby.

Soldiers live in an always changing world that can be fascinating as they find themselves living in foreign countries and distant states, none like the one before it.

Though all very interesting, I found it's missing that one thing you see all around you but can not grasp, and that's to be accepted and feel as though you belong to something other than the always changing military community.

What might happen if our community were able to find ways to offer that feeling of "home" to our retiring veterans , where they might chose this community as the place to settle down.

A genuine welcome is sometimes the hardest thing to get, but if it was at the door step, it could attract some interesting good neighbors.

We have great people, food, music and location along this mighty Mississippi.

Why can't it be where soldiers don't have to wonder, but they know they are home as soon as they come to live here.

Each military retiree we attract will help to bring others. For a number of reasons this community can not help but gain from these homeless Americans who come with experiences and ideas from many places and people,

Wherever they tend to settle, there is always growth.

I am curious how many readers might have an idea that could attract these retiring soldiers to invest and live in this community.

Why can't we find some ways to do something unique by offering a place that not only feels like, but is Home?