Honor and support CLU veterans on November 11

While I was walking around campus I couldn’t help but notice how people choose to personalize their cars. There is a wide variety of styles, ranging from advertising your political party to Hello Kitty stickers smiling back at you. It’s a simple way to let the world around you know a little bit about who you are.

The stickers that get me thinking the most are the military and veteran stickers. The owners of those cars are likely veterans or family members of someone currently serving.

I imagine the kind of life they may have lived, how many deployments they did and where they served. I wonder how far away they were from their families and what sacrifices they made. I think about how many close calls they have had and how many friends  they may have lost. What wounds do the veterans carry with them after they return home?

When you really think about it, those little stickers can generate powerful emotions and feelings. What can a person do with those feelings? How can they express their thanks? Veterans Day is a federal holiday designed to recognize and celebrate those who have served.

Veterans Day started in 1919 after the first anniversary of the end of World War I.  It became a national holiday in 1938 and was designed to honor those who served in all American wars. America has celebrated Veterans Day for 93 years with traditions of wreath laying, ceremonies, parades and taking the day off to reflect.

The government, businesses and schools all close to allow people to observe this national holiday. It makes sense to celebrate this holiday. There are more than 128 veterans attending classes here at CLU. That number is sure to grow with two million troops returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan in the next few years. There are many military dependents who attend California Lutheran University.

I think Americans should make Veterans Day a more significant part of our culture. Stores today already have the holiday section bursting with Christmas wrapping paper and gifts.

I want to see the flags and patriotic decorations. It seems like people enjoy the day off but don’t emphasize the holiday’s meaning like they do with Thanksgiving.

I know not all veterans enjoy the fan fare or attention, but there are so many who need to be thanked for the sacrifices they made for our freedom. I feel it is my duty as an American citizen to let them know how appreciative I am, and I think every American citizen should do the same.

I urge you to take time this Veterans Day to reflect. Consider attending a ceremony, volunteering or participating in a parade. If you see a veteran or service member, take a moment to thank them for their service.

Remember the veterans returning home and keep them in your thoughts and prayers every day. You can always add a yellow ribbon magnet to your own car to show your support. This will let everyone know you support veterans every day.

Jeanette Zimmerman is a U.S. veteran and president and founder of CLU’s Military Veteran’s Club.

 

Jeanette Zimmerman
Special to The Echo
Published Nov. 7, 2012