GUEST COMMENTARY: Take the time to thank a veteran
Veterans Day is an annual American holiday honoring military veterans. A federal holiday and a state holiday in all states, it is usually observed on Nov. 11. However, if it occurs on a Sunday then the following Monday is designated for holiday leave, and if it occurs Saturday, then either Saturday or Friday may be designated.
The day is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, on Nov. 11, marking the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with Germany signing the armistice.
As I read an article about the origins of war, it stated warfare was: "The revolution in social structures that rested upon the new economic base which was the most important factor responsible for the emergence of warfare."
As we approach a new America, with its diversity and economic challenges and definitely a new perspective, history will dictate how we were successful or unsuccessful in our engagements of this thing called war.
As we finally understand what a veteran is, "a member of the armed services who spent 180 consecutive days in the military and was discharged with other than a dishonorable," we can be proud of those who volunteered to fight for the freedom of this country, whether you are in agreement with the recent wars.
With that in mind, we celebrate every November at UH during Veterans Awareness Week, which is from Thursday to today, culminating today. It has served our University community veterans well by letting those veterans who are our students, staff and faculty know how much we appreciate their service. As a veteran, success is measured by their transition to a functional civilian life after learning skills, discipline and leadership which go beyond their own expectations.
For those who have entered and survived foreign lands and made it back safely, we know one thing – that change was inevitable.
Whether veterans looked at themselves differently after returning, or derived at a better understanding of what a great country we live in, it is the peace that soldiers make with themselves and their environment that allows them to evolve into a person that can handle the cultural shock of re-entering into civilian life.
With the coming of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, recent veterans will finally be given their proper due where they can educate themselves without the strain of financial challenges and with the proper roof over their heads from housing support to continue or complete their academic careers.
With this coming-of-age change, it is not only the student who will be getting sufficient support, but the colleges and universities around the country with the influx of new and continuing students with guaranteed government money.
With support from friends, family and cohorts, the veteran will be able to become the leader of tomorrow that he or she has trained to be.
So when you see a veteran, especially on Veterans Day, say: "I thank you for your dedication and service."
Grundy, an education graduate student and director of the UH Veterans’ Services Office, can be reached via [email protected]