Last summer I observed some very noisy youths outside a pub in our town centre.
Yobs, some called them, but look closer. See the short haircuts, some limping perhaps?
Watch the eyes. Always moving, observing. I've seen those eyes before. They are the eyes of those not long out of a combat zone. Always wary. Afraid. Cautious. Watching.
These, so called, yobs were members of our local TA just back from overseas duty.
Yes, they had drunk a little too much. Yes they were a little noisy, but they were just winding down.
If you look closely you'll see the quiet ones. The ones crying for lost mates and lost youth. You'll see the damaged ones. Lost, but still part of the unit. Their mates will stay with them as long as possible. To try to bring them back. Often they will fail, but they do try.
Next time you see a bunch of young people (be they male or female or mixed genders) being too loud. Drinking too much. Take a closer look.
Are they clean? Are they casually dressed? Can you see some holding close to one or more of their number who seems to be a little down?
If they are, then walk bye and nod to the many of the group who will watch you as a potential enemy.
These are the sons and daughters of your locality. They have survived. They have come back from hell and are trying, desperately, to re-adjust to civilian life.
So when you see rowdy youths, look closer. . Think before you mutter "bloody drunken kids". Sometimes they are drinking to try to forget things you have never and, please god, will never see. Things they gave all they had to protect you from.
As the older generation we must realise that respect is a two way street. Just because we are older does not entitle us to respect unless we respect those younger people who go where they are told and do what they are told to protect our way of life.
They are sometimes are killed or broken doing that.
So if, as an elder, you expect respect, then respect the young warriors. They have earned that respect.