Veterans have fought hard to protect the freedoms in America and deserve to be celebrated for their dedication and hard work. Veterans Day is a national holiday that takes place on November 11th. This holiday was put in place to honor those who have served in the military. At Wesleyan, this holiday is honored with an assembly. This assembly recognizes faculty members, family members of faculty or students and alumni who have served and/or are serving in the military.
This year’s speaker, SGT. Dan Llorens, has been involved at Wesleyan for many years. He served in the United States Marine Corps, and shared about his experience when he first joined the military and how grateful he was for the opportunity to serve this country. After he finished speaking at the assembly, the names of all parents of students, faculty and alumni who have served or are serving currently were presented on the screen.
One of the Wesleyan faculty members who has served in the military is Cristian Piedra. He works in the IT department. He signed up for the United States Army when he was 18 years old. His deployments were usually three to five months at a time.
“When I was deployed, I would always tell my parents that they had nothing to worry about,” Piedra said. “Even though I would be in very dangerous situations a majority of the time, I wouldn’t let my family know that. My family tended to always worry about me. It was a new experience for my family because I was the first Piedra to ever be in the military.”
Some veterans displayed in the assembly were the first to serve in their family, but for others it is a family tradition. Junior Megan Gallagher has many veterans in her family. Her father, Keith Gallagher, served in the United States Navy from 1988 to 1993, and his father and grandfather also served in the military. This has had an effect on Gallagher as she would like to serve in the military too.
“I’m working on applying to the Naval Academy, and I hope to get in,” Gallagher said. “Because of my dad being in the military, the times where he talked about his ‘glory days’ as he calls them have always stuck with me. I’ve grown up believing that that is one of the most honorable things I can do with my life. For Gallagher, it is more than just have the “glory days.” “To me, getting a chance to be a part of the military is a way that I can thank my dad and every other servicemen for serving our country,” she said.
Many veterans view Veterans Day differently than an average citizen. Lt. Colonel Jim Hendricks, a physics teacher, served in the military for many years.
“Serving gives me a greater appreciation for all veterans whether they have served in wars or not. It gives me an appreciation for all veterans that have faced hardships in order to serve their nation,” Hendricks said.
Veterans are highly respected for the service and bravery they have shown, and it is important to take time to think about the sacrifices they have made to protect this country’s freedom and rights.