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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


We should remember veterans of all ages

Yesterday, Americans celebrated Veterans Day, our annual salute to the country’s living veterans, for the 90th time since its first proclamation in 1919. For most of us, it’s a somber day — less somber, perhaps, than Memorial Day, but still a time to think about matters that don’t often brush against our hectic lives.

When we think of veterans, we probably think of older people. We think of our grandparents, perhaps, reminiscing about their days in the Pacific or working in a factory during World War II. Or we think of the Vietnam veteran who lives next door. We think of the day, in short, as a day of remembrance.

But our generation has produced its own veterans. They’re returning home every week from Iraq and Afghanistan. They sit next to us in our classes. They eat with us, laugh with us and blend into the crowd. But they carry a heavier burden than most of us ever will.

Veterans Day is not merely a day to remember and honor the past. It is a day to think about our soldiers today, and reflect on what their sacrifices — of their energy, of their time and often of their lives — mean for the rest of us.

It can be difficult to remember the enormity of that sacrifice on years when Veterans Day lands in the middle of the week, when most of us have other things on our minds. Unlike other holidays, which are shuttled around from date to date to accommodate our weekend trips, Veterans Day is always celebrated on the 11th of November, commemorating the end of World War I.

By 1953, when Armistice Day received its title change — to honor the growing number of veterans of World War II and Korea — the “”Great War”” was an increasingly remote memory. Yet the date remains Nov. 11.

Virtually all traces of America’s long-ago involvement in the First World War, and the 116,000 Americans who died in it, have vanished from our collective consciousness. The one great exception is Veterans Day. Our annual celebrations carry an echo of the holiday’s initial purpose, the meaning it carried for a war-weary nation: that there might be no more wars.

For all of us, but most of all for our friends and relatives who serve, let us keep that hope alive.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and are written by one of its members. They are Shain Bergan, Alex Dalenberg, Justyn Dillingham, Laura Donovan and Heather Price-Wright.

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