Show support for vets throughout entire year

By AJ Edwards

Even though Veterans Day comes once a year, it’s never the wrong time to show your support and respect to veterans in your community. The holiday is a good opportunity to thank servicemen and women, but it’s just a reminder of the behavior we should practice all year round.

On Monday, I visited St. Mary’s School, 222 Waterman St. in Sycamore, to see students take part in an assembly to honor veteran friends and family members of students. I think it’s fantastic local youths are being taught the importance of veterans and have an understanding of the sacrifices each veteran makes in order to serve this great nation.

We have soldiers overseas every day, so it’s good to understand every day is a good day to thank a veteran. Considering our nation has been at war for more than 12 years, it is important our younger generations grow up understanding the impact these wars have had on many families.

“It’s not unusual for them to reach out to communities like veterans,” said journalism instructor Jason Akst, who has a son in second grade at St. Mary’s School. “Today was the first one of these that I’ve been to, and I believe that they do this every year. I was pretty pleased with it.”

The school was not the only part of our community that honored veterans Monday. Hy-Vee, 2700 DeKalb Ave., gave away a free breakfast buffet to those who have served or serve our nation. Applebee’s, 2411 Sycamore Road, had a wonderful selection of free meals for veterans. Aspen Leaf Yogurt, 1015 W. Lincoln Highway, continues to give a 10 percent discount to any service member.

I visited these places while they served our veterans and was overtaken with emotion at how many servicemen and women we have living in our community. It was touching to know businesses truly care about military personnel, whether they served in World War II or Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I was totally unaware of how important a day such as Veterans Day was for veterans and their families,” said senior English major Nathan Block. “It is astronomically astounding to be able to witness the strength of the support others gave them, including other veterans themselves.

“[Monday] really showed me that the brotherhood that is developed within the military lasts from the time you sign up until the day you die.”

It’s touching to see the community’s support for our brothers and sisters at arms. Being a veteran, I continue to be amazed at how strong our nation is in its support of veterans.

Always remember to take time to thank a veteran when you see one, no matter what day it is.

I also want to thank every single veteran at NIU for their service. It’s an honor for me to have served alongside them, and I hope our veterans always remember they are cherished and their sacrifices are not forgotten. We are a small yet tight-knit community. Although it’s a Marine Corps saying, I think the motto Semper Fidelis, or “Always Faithful,” rings true for us all.