It feels good to go back to a military base or post and to be called by your previous rank, but odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as  we once did, years ago.    

The military, for all its flaws, is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform.  It's a place where you know the rules and know  they are enforced.  A place where everybody is busy but not too busy to  take care of business.   

Because...there exists behind the gates of every military facility an  institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves  you.   
Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and who you were dealing with.  That's because you could  read somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score.  Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak.  When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where  they've served.   

You miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in  the ranks, like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh from the  laundry and standing in a perfectly straight line that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the endless horizon.   You miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the  sound of boot heels thumping in unison on the sidewalks, the bark of sergeants and the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in  review.      

To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its  reality, because it's very serious business, especially in times of war.

Author Unknown