Actually Appreciate Their Service
The Beacon Bolt is a publication of the student body of Northwest Christian University.
November 11th, a day that comes and goes every year just like any other day. You get up and go to school and maybe a professor, friend or family member mentions “Veteran’s Day” , or possibly you see it on social media, or maybe you remembered. Most know it’s a day to thank Veteran’s and most do. Most thank their own military loved ones, but have you ever stopped and had a conversation, whether that be in person, email, text or call, wanting to know more? Have you ever learned about a stranger’s struggles and sacrifices from being a veteran? Or do you find yourself saying, “I appreciate your service,” in a solemn tone when you see a service man or woman, then walking away, not ever thinking again about this interaction?
My older brother, Sgt. Kory Roberts, went into the military right after he graduated high school. He was in the Army for six years and now has been in the National Guard for two years. Months and months of care packages, scratchy phones calls, tears, worries and prayers haunted our family home during both of his deployments. We avoided the news as much as possible, because hearing about those lost overseas only made it harder to swallow. He was a lucky, we were lucky. In his six years he was only deployed to Afghanistan twice, August 2009-August 2010 and February 2012-September 2012. He returned home safely, a sentence some families can’t say.
Before Kory went into the military, I barely knew what Veteran’s Day was. I knew that it was to honor war veterans, but never was taught what the history behind it was, I just knew that if I saw military personal it was respectful to thank them for their service. Coming from a small community where a lot of students head to the military straight out of high school, this sentence became verbatim. Everything changed when Kory left. If you don’t know anyone who is a veteran, sometimes connecting with Veteran’s Day can be difficult and sometimes uncomfortable, but I challenge you to open yourself up to those who sacrificed their lives for yours and mine.
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs states that in November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday, a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but on June 1, 1954 (Public Law 380), it became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
We have many Beacon Veteran’s walking around campus, students and faculty. One of these veterans is John Kennedy who was in the Army, 82nd Airborne Division, out of Fort Bragg, NC, for 8 years. (1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment). He was deployed 3 times, Afghanistan 2005-2006, Iraq 2007-2008 and Iraq again 2010 – 2011. He is a senior, studying business with a minor in marketing and says that his time in the military made him more focused and driven. It also deepened his relationship with Christ, as he told a story about being in Iraq and being ambushed he said, “He kept me calm. He was there.” He spoke of a verse that has given him strength even now out of the service, Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Dave Quirk is the Assistant Professor of Management for MBA, Adult Degree Programs and Undergraduate curriculums, with an M.B.A., from Strayer University and B.A., from Florida State University. Quirk arrived at NCU in 2012, but had been an active Adjunct Instructor with NCU since 2006. Lieutenant Commander Quirk spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy: 4 years enlisted and 18 years as an officer. Of the latter, he was an Operations Officer on both a US Frigate and Cruiser, and a Commanding Officer of two Navy Reserve Centers here in Oregon. The military also helped Dave’s spiritual life, he prayed more and said, “You don’t understand your path, until God brings you to the path.” He believes that you are never too old to learn, stating that he learns something new from his students every day.
Johnny Mager is an Admissions Counselor for the Adult Degree Program, he joined the Oregon Army National Guard in January of 2010. From a young age he felt called to be a first-responder, police officer, secret agent or military personnel, someone who would make sacrifices for the greater good. He has gained self-confidence and loves the structure, after completing basic training and coming back to Oregon to attend NCU to obtain his bachelor’s degree, he couldn’t quite believe that people really could complain about a five page paper. Such things became expected and he was thankful for the opportunities he has been given. He said, “I am blessed to be here and not be a secret agent. I get to help people succeed in their life, helping them unpack their dreams.”
These were only three compressed stories of three veterans here on campus. Not only today and next Veteran’s Day, but every time you encounter a military personnel, have respect and thank them for their service, but also challenge yourself to go a little deeper. Although not all of the experiences and stories they have to share about military life will be rainbows and butterflies, each and every one of us can learn from these courageous men and women that walk our campus every day.
To learn more about the history of Veteran’s Day visit: http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp