Veterans are a strong presence in UMB student life. The Student Veterans Center (SVC), located in the Student Life offices on the third floor of the Campus Center, is one of the most active student organizations on campus. Veterans serve in student government, work for the student newspaper, and generally maintain a strong campus presence. Still, while all veterans have served, their divergent personalities and experiences give each of them a different point of view. Even serving in the same branch of the service can lead to vastly different perspectives.
Caleb Nelson, recently retired from the position of editor-in-chief of The Mass Media, served in the US Navy. Patriotism and a desire for free education were early motivators: he joined in 2004, when he was 18. He left in 2008 with partial deafness in his right ear, ready for the rest of his education. He is not sanguine about the Middle East. “I’m glad we’re out of Iraq,” he said thoughtfully. “The Afghanistan war is tough to be against, because from this ivory tower it looks pretty bad... But invading in the first place caused another problem: how do we leave gracefully? We're banging around out there like a drunk guy at his sister's wedding.”
|Caleb (left) on duty|
|Caroline Necheles (right) with Elizabeth Warren at Commencement Day at UMB|
Patrick: “I want civilians to think about veterans every day of the year, not just one day.”
Caroline: “To the civilians that look from the outside and have no understanding of what we do: We are given orders; we follow those orders. I served because it is what I wanted to do.”
Caleb: “Don't celebrate Veterans Day. Memorial Day matters much much more... [S]ave your attention for the people that are in the military now, or dead from it. What about the Peace Corps? Where's their holiday?”
“1% of the country is doing 100% of the fighting, taking 100% of the bullets, nothing gets asked of the rest of us.” -- Tom Brokaw, 2011/11/03.
Don’t wait for Veterans Day to learn about retired and active members of our military. Say hello, be polite--and above all else, respect their service.