The colors red, white and blue canvas the American flag. Those colors are defended by the military personnel who risk their lives for the freedom of the people of the United States. Those colors run through the blood of the personnel overseas and on the home front. Those colors define this country. Those colors and the people who defend them are honored on Veteran’s Day, the holiday where America honors those who have served in the armed forces.
Some citizens choose to celebrate by seeing a parade, flying the American flag or taking part in ceremonies honoring the military personnel who defend the United States.
Keene State College took part in the festivities on Thursday, Nov. 14 in the Mountain View Room where Lieutenant General David Perkins spoke to a room of over 30 people about the importance of accepting veterans back into their communities.
“Generations around the world owe their lives to American soldiers,” Lt. Gen. Perkins said. Perkins is a three-star general in the United States Army as well as the commander of Fort Leavenworth in Leavenworth, Kan.
Among the over 30 veterans in the audience listening to Gen. Perkin’s speech, nine student veterans were present. Before the speech, old college buddies reminisced about the good old days and shared war stories and memories. On one of the walls, a poster read “KSC – Honoring Those who Served.” On the poster as well were the hats of the five military branches – the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Perkins started off his speech with a story about the need of being prepared for a briefing or presentation.
“The best way to prepare for a briefing is to know that you’re talking about,” he said.
In 2005, When Iraq held its first democratic elections, Perkins was to appear on Quatar’s television channel Al Jazeera to talk about the elections. The interview was to be live with a translator sitting off-screen to help the general when the host asked questions to him in Arabic. With a transmitter in his ear to receive audio from the translator, Perkins seemed to be ready for the broadcast. According to him, when the host asked him the first question, nothing came from the translator and he could only sit there helpless. Turns out, the wire Broke and no sound was being transmitted to the ear piece. According to him, he went on to talk about the points he was going to talk about anyway, even though they didn’t really pertain to the unknown question at the time.
“I know about the army and military, so that’s what I’m going to talk about,” he said.
After the story, he stressed the importance of veterans outreach and how to accept them and let them back into their communities. He said most veterans want to do that but have a hard time of doing so.
He also talked about how the Army is important for the future of American life. He added that the Army is an all volunteer force dating to a year before the country gained its independence.
“The United States was built on the backs of soldiers,” he said.
Perkins noted that another way of honoring the veterans of the military is by attending memorial services of the soldiers who have lost their lives defending their country and the people that live in it.
“They gave their lives for your life, your liberty and your pursuit of happiness,” he said.
Jeremiah Miller, a senior and soldier for the National Guard in the Army, said of his service, “I considered myself blessed that I have the opportunity to serve.”
Veteran’s Day is not just another holiday to celebrate like Halloween, Christmas or Easter. This day honors the soldiers who have risked their lives for the freedom of the American people. Without the Army, the citizens would not be privileged with the rights they have to this day.
“We honor them for one day,” Ltg. Perkins said. “But we honor them for centuries of non-celebrated service.”
Kent Drake-Deese, director of Residential Life, put together the celebration. According to Drake-Deese, also the chair of the veteran’s student advisory committee, the celebration hosted all types of people, including students, faculty and staff, alumni and members of the community, all of which were connected by one thing; they are all veterans.
Michael Woodworth can be contacted at email@example.com.