Veterans Day

I’ve done a good job of staying away from blogging while working at the newspaper, but with my latest injury, I’m spending a lot of time at home in front of the computer. This is a mix of both, since it was an opinion piece I wrote for last week’s issue of The Echo, where I’m currently in the position of News Editor, even though I’m not doing many News Editor duties, unfortunately. It’s the piece I’m most proud of, among all my articles to date. I hope you like it, too.

by Rachel McAdams
As students, we have the opportunity and obligation to give back to our community, supporting those less fortunate and giving thanks to those that have sacrificed for us. With Veterans Day right around the corner, during the coming weeks, find someone who has served and thank them.
After a tumultuous election season, many of us find ourselves so wrapped in party affiliation, politics and the issues, that we forget those that, regardless of party affiliation, political leanings and thoughts on the issues, are in harm’s way doing work that would make most of us cringe or cower in fear.
Our military members are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons. Some are far from home, in places where people hate the uniform. They are doing what is sometimes a thankless job.
Whether you believe the war in Iraq was a waste of resources, or you think it was a heroic shine of American vigilance against terrorism, the people on the ground were still there, doing jobs in harm’s way, making sure the fight stayed far from home.
Whether you think the war in Afghanistan is America being the “world police” and involving ourselves in another country’s civil war, or you believe the war is a staunch stand against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the people on the ground dying from mortar attacks are still dying.
We must support their sacrifice. We must support their efforts.
You don’t have to support the leaders sending them to these places, and if you don’t, by all means call your congressman or senator and tell them, but please support the men and women in uniform volunteering to do what most will never do.
Airman First Class Elizabeth Jacobson was a sight to behold at Goodfellow Air Force Base. She was outspoken, never met a stranger and loved the military with every fiber of her being. She enlisted when she was 18 years old to be a part of Air Force Security Forces.
During a tour to Iraq, on Sept. 28, 2005, while providing convoy security support, after three months in the desert, she died during an IED explosion. She was 21 years old and was the first female airman killed in the line of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Ex-Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Lehner was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. He was soft-spoken and good-humored. He didn’t like talk of politics, religion or anything that didn’t make him or those around him laugh.
He joined the Air Force in 2003 to get an education, and spent six years as a Korean Airborne Linguist, deploying twice to Iraq.
After separating from the military, he was working for a contracting firm doing the same job in Afghanistan when his plane crashed during a NATO-led mission on Oct. 13, 2009. He was 26 years old.
These aren’t just some stories some journalist found lying around. Liz was stationed with me at Goodfellow, and was one of my friends. Jeff was my best friend and called me Yuhdongsaeng, Korean for little sister and I called him, Oppa, Korean for big brother.
These people and thousands like them have given the ultimate sacrifice. They do it so the fight doesn’t come to our door. They do it so you don’t have to. They do it because to them, it wasn’t a choice, it was an obligation to duty.
Some of them are your classmates, others your professors or staff members at the university. Some of them live next door to your parents and others you see everyday and don’t even know the higher call they answered.
On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, find someone who has served, talk to them, listen to their stories and thank them for making that choice.
It’s the least we can do.

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