Our View: Don’t just remember them on Veterans Day

How did you spend your Tuesday break? Did you sleep in? Did you catch up on your homework? We hope so. These are all productive uses of your time as a college student, but we also hope you took a minute to think about the experiences and sacrifices of millions of U.S. veterans. Maybe you attended a Veterans Day event or commemoration.

If we think about veterans, we tend to think about men who have served in the World Wars, Vietnam or Korea. We don’t necessarily think about the veterans our own age from Afghanistan and Iraq who may be sitting next to us in classes and doing the same assignments we do.

Most of us don’t see how the wars affect us. We don’t have to make any sacrifices for our country. We just continue to worry about the next assignment, the next exam or our jobs. But for some students, the wars remain with them. Every day they may relive their experiences on active duty. They’ve seen death and destruction. We can only imagine what they’ve gone through.

You might even have been angry that we didn’t have Monday off too, but yesterday wasn’t just a typical day off. It sounds cliched, but we shouldn’t just remember America’s veterans on Veterans Day.

Angie Conant, a senior speech pathology and audiology major at Kent State, has been writing letters to families of fallen soldiers through her church since 2007. She sets a remarkable example for all of us. Writing a letter of support is just one thing you could do.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to listen to veterans’ stories. No matter your opinion of the wars, you can still show them you care. You’d probably be surprised by what you hear. In the United States, there are more than 23.8 million living veterans. Many of us have family members or know people who have served in the military. Ohio alone has 958,000 living veterans, 14,149 of whom receive GI Bill education benefits.

Seek out veterans you know. They might be a family member or a neighbor. If they choose to tell you about their experiences, pay attention. You might learn something about what it means to go to war for your country.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.