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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Opinion: We must pay tribute to those who would give all

Courtesy+image%2FBrett+Sayles%2FPexels
Courtesy image/Brett Sayles/Pexels

By Alorah Saldana-Vigil

It would seem civilians are quick to project their thoughts and feelings, but what about our veteran acquaintances who function in society right next to us? These are the men and women who fought in combat day in and day out without thinking twice. And yet, stories and experiences are often left untold due to the backlash and retaliation of our own American people. 

Many Americans paid the ultimate sacrifice in that seemingly unknown land. A lot of service members even died before their battle buddies’ eyes. Veterans Day is a lot more in depth than what civilians can understand. 

Veterans Day is for the loved, for the lost and most importantly for the forgotten.

In recent years, though, honoring our veterans has become taboo, to put it lightly. Nowadays, people are very absorbed in politics and just wanting to be “right,” and that has put our veterans on the back burner, even on Veterans Day. 

Since military service of any branch is voluntary, many believe that veterans should be overlooked because it’s “what they chose;” but to put it into perspective, without those brave civilians choosing to put themselves out there, we as a country wouldn’t have the way of life that we so enjoy.

 I personally have not been in combat nor have I deployed, but I have so many battle buddies that have and hearing their stories are equal parts comical and heartbreaking. While deployments can have aspects of fun, there is still a mission to accomplish, and you have to do what you are there to do. 

Many troops miss out on the sentimental moments and miss holidays with their family. Hell, they even miss out on a hot meal, more often than not. This includes the troops with no family and who receive no packages or mail from home. 

To me, Veterans Day is for the loved, for the lost and most importantly for the forgotten. Even going back to World Wars I and II, these brave soldiers have sacrificed so much to be receiving the bare minimum. Only people who have gone through it can understand the heaviness that comes with serving your country. 

I went to basic training in South Carolina at Fort Jackson and immediately went to Advanced Individual Training in Virginia at Fort Lee. I was gone from everything I have ever known for about nine months. 

In that time, I was pushed to my lowest but brought back to my highest. I learned what my body could physically do and withstand. On our longest field training, we walked over 65 miles in a five-day span, with 60-plus pound rucksacks (a backpack containing all our belongings) on our backs.

Now I understand that this is not combat or anything even close, but the hell that my platoon and I went through was enough to make me question my entire existence. I didn’t magically show up to training being able to do this — but I learned, sacrificed and worked hard to do it anyway.

To me, this is the heart of becoming a soldier. You cannot find this will and motivation on the street in just any ordinary civilian. As a soldier, you go through many trials and tribulations personally, mentally and together with your platoon. 

You really would die for the people standing next to you in formation, and that is an amazing bond to have. 

In the Army, one of the most famous sayings is to “embrace the suck” and this is exactly what all service members have to sometimes remind ourselves when we are on duty and there is a mission to accomplish. 

Veterans Day is a very important holiday that needs to be recognized not only for the service members to be appreciated, but for the amazing sacrifices that are made for the nation. Of course some of these missions are not seen on American soil, but the struggle is always there.

The day-to-day life in combat is apparent, and the mental overload the soldiers face due to the sometimes-lack of basic necessities isn’t always apparent. Even a call home or just being in touch, no matter how it’s accomplished, seems so out of reach when we live in a world where civilians have their phone in their hand 24/7.

Because of this, I believe Veterans Day is one of the most important holidays on the calendar. 

** See related content: A Veterans Day perspective from a warrior of World War II **

 

These Cartoons, named ‘Antipsychotics’ and ‘Help Desk,’ are courtesy of Travis Landchild. According to his website, ”Stick Vet Comics are about Veteran life in the civilian sector. The comics are a way of communicating truth through humor by describing the challenges Veterans face after serving in the military.” For more information about Landchild or his upcoming book based on the series, visit www.stickvetcomics.com.

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