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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Vets Day not for partying

    It began as a worldwide holiday called Armistice Day to celebrate the end of World War I, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. But after the many different wars, and millions of veterans returning home, the U.S. government wanted to honor all veterans.

    According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day is “a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

    Regardless of attitudes about the deployment of troops around the world, wars, or anything else, on Friday, take a minute to appreciate the veterans.

    On campus, that could be an easier task than many know. The UA has a long history of having a strong veteran population on campus.

    The number of veterans at UA usually hovers between 600 and 700, but since the spring semester of 2009 there’s been a rise in enrollment. There are 889 veterans enrolled as of the most recent data available from the Veterans Education and Transition Services office at the UA.

    That office is a second home to veterans on campus, and can give them an easy way to connect to other veterans.

    Glen Lacroix, who served in the Army for 13 years, recently told UA Alumnus magazine, “This office gave me a reason to exist; without it, I would probably be one of those homeless vets on the streets.”

    A Post-9/11 GI Bill gave more benefits to vets to return to school, so there are more around campus than you may first think — and around 22 percent of the veterans on the UA campus are women.

    So when you’re out at the bar or out with your friends, shout out to see if there are any veterans nearby and buy them a drink or invite them to sit down. Or if you aren’t comfortable talking to strangers, most people can probably find a veteran somewhere in their family. A grandfather from World War II, even your grandmother probably has some interesting stories about the war, a parent from the Gulf War, and others. Even if you don’t want to call and say “Happy Veterans Day!” (because it’s one of those holidays you celebrate but “happy” doesn’t sound right) I’m sure they’d just appreciate a phone call to tell them all about college. It doesn’t have to be focused on war, just remember them and their patriotism or honor.

    Veterans Day should be a day to reflect on what soldiers have done throughout American history and to honor those who have fallen and those who lived on to start families and new lives. It’s not just a three-day weekend; it’s a day off to reflect.

    — Michelle A. Monroe is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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