In Focus: What are your thoughts on Veterans Day?

This Thursday marked the occasion in which Americans say thank you to those who served in uniform. Originally called “Armistice Day” to mark the end of World War I, today now honors all veterans, past and present.

Earlier in the semester, we asked Northern Star columnists what is the best way to honor veterans. For today’s In Focus, we asked our columnists to share their thoughts on the veterans they know and love.

Aaron Brooks, columnist: My father-in-law, who serves in the Navy, is like Superman. One time at a family cook out, he saw a child wander into the street and moved with super speed. Crunch, was the sound of the steel buckling as he extended his hand to stop the car from hitting the child. My brother, who served in the Air Force, is like Batman. One day while we were playing video games at his house he received a call in which a citizen was in distress. He pushed a button on his arm chair and vanished through a hole in the floor. Even though I am not being serious, I had to write something more interesting than playing cards with my father-in-law or hanging dry wall with my brother. Veterans are just people, no different than you or I. Just people who served our country in a way that our country needs served; just like I am serving our country by getting an education.

Phil Case, columnist: Two of my grandparents served in the Navy and one in the Air Force. At first, I thought their hard work ethic, respect and gratitude were all characteristic of them being part of a generation that had been through the Great Depression. However, after seeing some of my friends who went on to serve after high school, I see the many of the same qualities instilled in them. Our armed forces clearly produce capable, well-rounded adults who deserve our appreciation.

Jessica Jenks, columnist: It is not unusual for someone in the military to miss important days in their life: Thanksgivings, Christmases, deaths and births. It is not unusual for me to take for granted the time I get to spend with my family. It is expected. Holidays mean time spent with loved ones. I cannot imagine spending Christmas away from my family. To me, Veterans Day is a day to let all of the veterans know that I absolutely appreciate all the sacrifices they made for me, someone they have never met. I thank them for missing out on important days in their life, so I can take those days for granted.

Portia Kerr-Newman, columnist: I have a friend that is in the Army, so I do pay tribute to her on this day. She has not served in the war, but she did have to go Haiti to help restore the area. I also pay tribute to my uncle who served in the Air Force. I love how there is a holiday to pay tribute to those serving and who have served in their country, but people who go over to work in countries like Haiti and Iraq are rarely recognized. My uncle works as a contractor in Iraq and is not in the military. So I also pay tribute to him for being brave enough for going to Iraq to be one of the people who help restore the area.

Kathryn Minniti, columnist: I think veterans on Veterans Day should spend time with loved ones and keep in touch with their fellow veterans. This day is dedicated to them, so what they do to celebrate or honor this day is clearly up to them. These men and women have fought for our country and freedom and we should be proud to have people willing to risk their lives for us. To help someone cope over a loss of a loved one, think of it as that soldier is a hero and everything us Americans have is because what these heroes have done for this country.

Logan Short, columnist: I have an uncle who has been to Iraq several times, my girlfriend’s parents have both been as well and I know plenty of other people who have gone or at least served in the military. I have my opinions about various wars and our foreign policy, but when it comes to those who serve, I am forever grateful. These are people who not only defend our freedom, but sacrifice their own. They don’t get to quit a job because they don’t agree with it, they don’t get to have a say in what their boss tells them to do and if they have to move locations, they do it. These people sacrifice their own freedom of choice to defend our own. I think that says a lot about the selflessness and courage our veterans possess and the honor they deserve.