Veterans honored by students at flag raising ceremony

By Rachel Scaman

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who has served in the military, spoke at Monday’s Veterans Day flagraising ceremony to honor those who have served.

The Veterans Day Ceremony, which was held at the flag pole by the lagoon outside Altgeld Hall, is an annual event held to honor the sacrifices and service of U.S. military veterans. This event is organized and hosted by the NIU Veterans Club with support from ROTC and Military Student Services.

“This year was the first year we got a congressman to speak, so we’re pretty proud about that,” said Veterans Club President Richard Bennett.

Bennett said it’s important for everyone to attend the ceremony.

“We owe everything we have to veterans who serve,” Bennett said. “That’s something we should never lose as a community.”

Kinzinger said Monday’s event provided an opportunity to honor veterans, and he said there was no better place to be that day.

“Veterans Day is for not only those that have given their lives but those that have served and in some cases served in combat,” Kinzinger said. “They have the memories in their heart still, and those are memories that you can’t get rid of.”

Kinzinger said he would advise students who want to join the military to not let the time commitment scare them. He said he knows a lot of people who lived with regret because they didn’t join the military due to the time commitment.

“The military isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you’re considering I think there’s great honor in it,” Kinzinger said. “Very rarely do I meet someone who went into the military that regrets doing it.”

Kinzinger said being in the military significantly impacted his life.

“It changes your perspective and understanding,” Kinzinger said. “It changed my life in politics because I understand what America is about, and it’s about doing something bigger than yourself.”

Veteran Joshua Eller, junior finance major, said he attended the event to support the veterans and to help get more people involved in the Veterans Club.

“Being a veteran has taught me to help others, selfless service and honor for my country,” Eller said. “It’s also taught me to look around and teach students about what’s expected of them in life and how to grow.”

Eller said it’s important for students, staff and community members to attend the Veterans Day event to show support and show the university cares.

“A lot of people don’t realize, but coming out to these events shows we haven’t forgotten and that we do appreciate them for everything they do,” Eller said.

Bennett encourages all veterans to join NIU’s club.

“We try to help as much as we can throughout the community, and I want veterans to know they have a place with us,” Bennett said.

The club will sell bandanas at Wednesday’s football game against Ball State University to raise funds for the club. Those who are interested in joining Veterans Club can visit its Facebook page, NIU Collegiate Veterans Association. Students can also visit the Military Student Services office if they want to up.