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Military Holiday Affects Student Life

IMG_3069-XLCreated by Woodrow Wilson, Armistice Day was originally a day to honor the veterans of World War I. However, following World War II and the Korean War, Congress later amended the act, changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans.” On June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all veterans.

De’Shawn Maynard is a senior who is in the JROTC. Maynard has been in the JROTC since he was a sophomore, and is debating going into college ROTC to go into the armed forces as an officer.

“I feel like [serving in the military] is very honorable, and I feel like it’s something not everyone can do. I feel like not enough people respect what people in the military do,” Maynard said.

People who are in the military have to go through things that the average person does not have to. Service members are stationed around the world, and sometimes deployed to combat zones. About 2.5 million service members have been deployed to a war zone and returned since 2001. Almost half of these service members have been deployed more than once. Almost 700,000 veterans have an officially recognized disability as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. People who are in the military are also at a higher risk of having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Veterans’ Day is a day to honor these men and women who risk their lives for this country. It is also used as a day to remember those who lost their lives to protect the country. This day is observed in many different ways. The day used to be filled with parades to honor the veterans, however, now things are different. People have different opinions on Veteran’s Day, and therefore they celebrate the holiday in a variety of ways.

“I feel like [Veterans’ Day] is one of the most important holidays, [and] people don’t really acknowledge [it] enough. It’s really important to me, [in the past] I’ve done Color Guard for [Veterans’ Day] in JROTC,” Maynard said.

Not everyone is off for Veterans’ Day. Students enjoy a day off, but teachers have to come to school for a workday. JROTC Lieutenant Colonel Chandler is also required to come to the school on this holiday.

“Normally, I’m at school like any other teacher. Veterans’ Day is somewhat special because it is a time to reflect on other veterans and those who have passed. I grew up around World War II veterans. You were always around someone who had served,” Chandler said.

Service members risk their lives when they are deployed to protect their country. These veterans come back in a variety of conditions. Some come back unharmed, others with injuries, and some do not come back at all. It is estimated that about 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded to wounded soldiers since the award’s creation in 1932. 6,802 American soldiers were killed in action from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as of April 2014.

The men and women in the armed forces continually risk their lives to keep America safe. Veteran’s Day is a day for people to honor these people’s sacrifices and thank them for what they do for their country. It is a day to remember those who died protecting the United States. Service members sacrifice more than others realize, putting their personal lives aside to serve their country. They have to move around the world, sometimes without their loved ones.

Brandon Evans is a junior that lives on Fort Lee. Evans’ father has been in the Army for fifteen years.

“[My dad] was deployed to Iraq when I was in the fourth grade [to the time I was in the] fifth grade. I have had to move eight times because of the military,” Evans said.

Children of service members also must make sacrifices when their parents are stationed in different places, and the child must leave people behind in order to remain with their parents. Sometimes these children have to stay behind when their parents are stationed in places that they cannot go to.

“I think today people appreciate those who are on active duty and veterans, but for the most part I don’t think people realize how much veterans sacrifice for the country and [in] their family life,” Chandler said.

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