The Prowler

Why I Value Veterans Day

Sarah Shane, Opinion Editor

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Veterans Day, in addition to being a nice day off of school and work for Americans, is a seldom-acknowledged opportunity to honor and be grateful for our country’s heroic veterans, who willingly risked their lives to protect ours. It can be easy to take our basic rights for granted, but without people to defend them, they could be just as easily taken away. This, then, is the purpose of Veterans Day: to make sure the beneficiaries of the military’s service take time to appreciate the hardships endured in their honor.

I feel a personal connection to this holiday, as I have three family members who have served in some branch of the military. Currently, I have a cousin (a graduate of New Jew) who is in the Army Reserves after serving in South Korea for a significant amount of time. After graduating from UC Berkeley, my cousin decided to do something significant for his country. I have tremendous respect for his service and admire the way the army shaped him into the capable and tenacious person he is today.

When he was serving in Korea, my cousin inadvertently caused the family an immense amount of worry. Although there wasn’t a great deal of conflict taking place in the exact location and time of his service, the knowledge that a family member was overseas and able to be deployed to the sight of a disaster at any given moment is cause enough for any family to fret over the well being of their loved one. Luckily, although his service did not pass without difficulty, no such awful events ultimately occurred. However, regardless of whatever events took place during the course of my cousin’s service, his absence still taught the family what it is like to truly miss someone in the army.

Veterans Day suddenly took on a new meaning for me, and for the majority of my family members who had never had a relative in the army during their lifetime. When the holiday came around every year, I would think of him, and of the countless other veterans and currently enlisted members of the military who, at a minimum, sacrificed time with their families and friends to protect the lives and rights of every American. I found myself hoping that others around the country would take the holiday as seriously as I now did.

Additionally, my two grandfathers, one who was in the army and the other who was a marine, always loved sharing their stories about their time in the service and I loved listening to the wisdom they had to share that was still relevant despite having been gained from so long ago. Their service played a significant role in shaping the strong but loving grandfathers I’ve always been proud of, and in helping them to become the best versions of themselves that they could achieve.

Veterans Day, and veterans in general, should be regarded with the utmost respect and honor. Regardless of whatever seems to be going wrong in our lives, it could be made much worse without people to protect our basic rights. Simply acknowledging this fact and appreciating our veterans and army/marines is constructive, and is a healthy way to maintain a properly gracious mindset and perspective.

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