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Do you realize that our nation is at war? You probably do, somewhere in your mind. You know that American soldiers are shipped out everyday to places with names you can barely pronounce but you may not consider that they are fighting for your freedom.
This post is not a debate about whether the battles are right or wrong or the policy issues that led us here. This is about the men and women that serve our country today and those who have served before.
As an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston, I have the distinct pleasure of teaching 40-45 students per semester. I always have veterans among the group and occasionally, even active military soldiers. These students, both men and women, inspire me in ways I never anticipate. This semester, I have at least 5 students who are veterans.
Over the years, these veterans have taught me so much about war and service to our country. My respect for their personal sacrifices grows with each person I meet.
I recently learned that veterans returning from the wars of the last decade are not easily getting jobs and their homeless rate is increasing to levels of deep concern. While they do not experience the level of personal attacks that Vietnam Vets suffered, they are also not receiving the respect of previous soldiers.
People – wake up! These veterans are smart, dedicated and hard-working. They have gained experiences that advance their maturity far beyond their years and they want to reintegrate into our society and live normal lives again. I find that the veterans I have been privileged to teach make some of the best students.
Now, we have a President and a majority of Presidential candidates that never served their country in the military. The volunteer military of the last 30+ years should make us value our soldiers even more.
Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to my most favorite veteran of all – my Dad. A peace-time Vet, he never saw action on the battle field. Yet, he is proudest of the time he served our country and shares the experiences with my son frequently. To listen to them converse, one would think Dad left the Air Force just yesterday. We are so proud to have him with us still and proud of his service to our country.
Today, I pause from the craziness of busy schedules and commitments to salute our Veterans. Thank you!