Duty, honor, country, and sacrifice

SAN ANTONIO — Many people see Veterans Day as a day for a barbecue, a day off from work, or the occasional “thank you for your service” to known veterans. However, for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, it’s much more. It’s a day of remembrance of all the good and bad times, a day of storytelling to friends and family, and a day of reminiscing with old friends that they served with.

“Veteran’s day means it’s a time to proudly reflect on our military service. We are the .5% of Americans who volunteered to serve. We should be proud of what we’ve accomplished, and the time we dedicated to serving our country”, Our Lady of the Lake University’s Student Veterans of America Association (SVA) President and Master’s of Organizational Leadership and Masters of Business Administration program student Tricille Otineru said.

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Although the Treaty of Versailles was signed June 28, 1919, the recognized date of the end of World War I is November 11, 1918, and the one-year anniversary November 11, 1919, became known as Armistice Day until it was renamed in 1954. According to a press release from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, “In a way, Veterans Day is not solely for our veterans, it is for all of us. It is a day to take stock of what we are doing with the freedom our veterans have sacrificed so much to protect.”

What does it mean to be a Veteran though? By definition, it is someone who has served in one of the branches of the military. To the veterans, however, it means much more. “To me, being a veteran means you get to join an exclusive group of people who have made their country a priority,” Otineru said. What many people may not realize every time a new recruit joins or a current soldier, airman, sailor, marine re-enlist in the military is that they are volunteering their service to the country and that can also include their own life, but many times this is overlooked. The sacrifices the men and women of our military make extend a lot further then what is shown or known. From months of training in the field, having to attend schools located all over the country, being stationed for a year or more at a time in foreign lands, and of course war, these conditions can take a huge toll not just on the service member, but their family as well.

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All veterans can tell stories for days and love every minute of sharing their experiences with an eager listener, while these stories can bring a sparkle to their eye, or maybe even tears as they relive their moments. “These stories are our most precious inheritance—because they do not simply preserve the memory of the past; they inspire us to even greater feats in the future,” Ryan said.

Ryan ended his press release with a few questions for people to self-reflect on, “Do we truly appreciate what it took to make this country free? Do we make the most of our freedom? Would our veterans be as proud of us and our daily lives as we are of them and their heroic deeds?” he said.

Our Lady of the Lake University will be celebrating our student veterans with a week full of events hosted by the SVA. “I think it’s nice to be recognized. Of course, we didn’t sign up for duty to be praised, but to have a day that observes our service is appreciated,” Otineru said.

OLLU’s SVA is seeking student veterans for membership, fellowship, and support. The festivities for the SVA sponsored Veteran’s week will take place November 5-9.

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