More than just a holiday

Celebrating Veterans Day to honor those who have served our country

Colin+Smith%2C+sophomore%2C+holds+a+picture+of+his+father+from+his+deployment.+%28Photo+illustration+by+Sasha+Kek%29

Photo by Sophia Babcock

Colin Smith, sophomore, holds a picture of his father from his deployment. (Photo illustration by Sasha Kek)

Sophia Babcock, Magazine Editor in Chief

To some, November 11th, Veterans Day, may seem like any other day. For others, November 11th is a day to honor and commemorate their loved ones who have served our country.

“I feel like everyone should show respect (towards veterans) because those sacrifices and experiences stick with you (veterans) forever, and that’s what not many people understand,” sophomore Colin Smith said. “I can’t even imagine what my father has gone through.”

Smith’s father served in the army, stationed in Germany and then completing two tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2002-2006. Smith’s dad’s service meant that his dad “was there for the first 10 days (of my life) and then had to go on a second tour for another year,” not returning until Smith was a year old. Even though Smith cannot remember those early years, he says he never forgets his dad’s service and remembers to thank his dad and all military personnel on Veteran’s Day for their sacrifices.

“To me, it’s a time where I feel like everyone is brought together in a sense where everyone can sort out their differences,” Smith said. “That’s the good thing about being an American in that sense. [On days like this] you sort out your differences and look at the things that really bring you together.”         

Veterans Day is dedicated to recognizing our veterans and showing gratitude for all they have done for this country. But for Smith, he has a simple approach: “never forget.” Smith says he tells this to veterans because it “implies that you’re with them as an American. Tell them that you’re together, and you will never forget the sacrifices they made to keep this country together and make it free.” 

But Smith acknowledges it’s not just those in the military who make sacrifices. The families of military personnel also deserve credit. Smith says his father’s deployment was a rough time for his mom, especially since she was caring for a newborn, and “I give her credit for that,” he said.

“[My mom] was very nervous because there were a lot of times where they would talk on the phone every day, and then there was a time where he didn’t answer for a couple days and … she got worried,” Smith said. “It was troubling, just because you didn’t know.”

Smith adds that “the scary part about [my father’s deployment was that] he was put in a little more dangerous spot than usual,” but regardless of where his dad was serving, he credits his mom because she “was on her own” a lot of the time due to his dad’s assignments.

Knowing how much both his mother and father went through, Smith says, has influenced his sense of patriotism. 

“I feel like most Americans are born with freedom and the hard part is … not to take advantage of that,” he said. He says he wants people to “give respect to the people who [served] and to just really, as an American, be a patriot.”

Smith says he believes the holiday deserves more attention from everyone whether they know people who served or not. In the future he wants to bring more awareness to Veterans Day and educate others about what veterans go through to protect our country. Going into the military is not an easy decision, says Smith, because it takes courage and bravery to fight for this country, so it is important to acknowledge those who do, not just on Veterans Day, but everyday.  

“I’d like people to take a moment to think and reflect about what we have here compared to other countries,” Smith said. “We can thank veterans for that. You may say ‘thank you for your service,’ but how do you show that you really appreciate [all they do]?”                    

Although he says joining the military has always been a thought, Smith says he is not sure if he would follow in his father’s footsteps because he has seen the aftermath.

“I have a long line in my family. My father, grandfather, and great grandfather all have [served this country],” Smith said. “I always want to carry that on, and I see them as role models. The hard part is to see that aftermath. Do I really want to risk all that? [That really shows how] hard it (the decision to join the military) is and how brave [veterans are] for doing that. Because I mean, it sticks with you [and your loved ones] forever.”