Fort Polk Guardian 11-09-2018

McNEESE STATE UNIVERSITYWANTS TO SAY THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR VETERANS. WE APPRECIATE YOUR SERVICE! By Amy Daschle It is difficult to put into words the feeling that comes to mind each year around Vet- erans Day. Looking back on my time as an officer in the United States Army, I still feel the pride, discipline, strength, and sense of service that character- ized my experience. For over five years, I wore combat boots, practiced shooting ma- chine guns, led sol- diers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and throughout it all learned about the meaning of service. As a young woman and soldier, I had the privi- lege to serve side by side with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. This is an experience—albeit one full of challenges, long days, and late nights—upon which I still look fondly. I remember when I first came home from Iraq at the age of 23, and a friend pointed out to me that I was now a “veteran.” It seemed strange to hear. I always thought of “veteran” as a term referring to an older generation. For me, it described those who fought in the wars of our parents and grand- parents, World War II and Vietnam, who wear military pins on their hats, and who play cards at the local Foreign Legion or Vet- erans of Foreign Wars lodges. The word “vet- eran” did not seem to describe a 23-year-old woman from Westch- ester County, New York. But years later, when I came home from Afghanistan as a 26- year-old, I finally let the term “veteran” set- tle in. I began to con- nect with the small group of citizens I had become a part of through my service. I also realized that now is a tremendous time to be a veteran in America: There is in- credible support, en- couragement, and appreciation shown to us in so many different ways. After years at war in the Middle East, the new, younger generation of veterans returned home with a shared sense of cama- raderie. Beyond shared mem- ories, there has also been an evolution in the support groups that are there for vet- erans—something that has not always existed. Groups such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Team Red, White and Blue, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have be- come my generation’s solution to providing modern-day support for veterans. And that is what I celebrate on Veterans Day: the support of America and the in- credible network of veterans both young and old—the people who raised their right hands and voluntarily committed their serv- ice to our country to ensure that it is safe and successful. November 11 is a day to recognize those who have served and to pause a moment to re- flect on the impor- tance of their combined impact on this great country and the immense sacrifice of our fallen heroes. Knowing that the country we’ve fought for stands behind us is incredibly powerful and inspiring. So even after Veter- ans Day this year, I’d like to encourage you, the next time you are in an airport or walk- ing in a mall and come across a veteran, to shake his or her hand and say “thank you for your service.” Every single time that I this has happened to me, I am humbled—and re- minded of the pride I have, and the privilege I have, in being a part of this amazing group of citizens who chose to serve their country. What it means to me It is perhaps the most famous poem to come out of the Great War. “In Flanders Field” was written in 20 minutes — just 15 lines in all — but it spoke volumes about those who lost their lives during the First World War on a field near Ypres, Belgium, in May 1915. In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place: and in the sky The larks still bravely singing fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead: Short days ago, We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, In Flanders fields! Take up our quarrel with the foe The torch: be yours to hold it high We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields In Flanders Fields Poem The World’s Most Famous War Memorial Poem By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae /27 Guardian Nov. 9, 2018