Remembering Our Veterans

November 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Veterans and community members read the names on the community memorial wall.

As we’re gearing down for the end of fall semester and heading into a holiday break that will be filled with family, friends, and lots of hot chocolate, we always need to remember and honor those that won’t have the privilege of doing just that this winter season. About two and a half weeks ago on November 11 was Veterans Day – a day dedicated to specifically honor those that have passed in the line of duty, those that have fought and survived, and those currently enrolled in the military.  I went to a public event that featured Vietnam veterans and their own personal experiences on the front lines of the Vietnam war.  All of the men that participated in the discussion were Purple Heart winners, and they all were part of the Purple Heart Organization of 53 members.  A couple of the men talked about the awful conditions they had to endure everyday – the unbearable mosquitoes with the possibility of Malaria, the sweltering heat and humidity, and the weight of six days of food and water plus weaponry was all very real to them.  One of the veterans even mentioned that their clothes would literally turn white from the accumulation of salt from their own sweat.

It’s almost unimaginable what they went through, and what all of the current men and women fighting for our country are doing right at this moment.  One veteran proclaimed that “It was an honor to serve this country, and I’d do it again,”, which perfectly demonstrates the true bravery, camaraderie, and selflessness of those that serve.  According to one of the Vietnam veterans in the presentation, letters mean ‘everything’ to a military person.  Just one letter may bring a ray of hope to someone that truly needs it.  Some of the men in the presentation also explained how after their service was over and the war finally ended, the Vietnam veterans weren’t well received when they came home to their own country.  It was a disgrace to call yourself a Vietnam veteran, and a lot of the American people looked down on them in shame, convincing most veterans to keep secret their past service in order to even get a job.  One of their missions is to keep this from happening with the current generation coming home from war, and to celebrate and honor their services unlike what the American people did when they themselves came home from war.

It’s especially important during this holiday season to keep those that have served and are serving in mind and to spread your thanks to them, even in just little ways such as donating money, sending a letter, or welcoming home a soldier.  One quote that really inspired me during the presentation was when one humble veteran proclaimed that “We survived when so many better men gave up their precious lives for us,”.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, including my own freedom.

– McKenzie Kline

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