Today is Veteran’s Day. It is a time to give thanks and pay homage to all of the people who have served this country—past and present. We owe our freedom as a nation to these brave individuals who have made huge personal sacrifices on our behalf to preserve our liberty. I’ll never forget the first time, as a college student, I walked through Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day as a rising junior in college. I was awestruck with the number of individuals who were buried there and I was equally as touched seeing the eternal flame of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A few years ago, I had the chance to visit friends in Manila, Philippines. We went to the WW II gravesite where thousands of soldiers were buried. This was especially bittersweet for me because my own dad, who survived his service on a destroyer, the USS Dyson, had died fifteen years earlier. But, unlike the people here, his life as a young person was spared.
I often think about the returning veterans from our current war and how much more we need to do to integrate them into college, when they return, and society as a whole. The best way to honor the many millions who served and died too young is to create opportunity for young people who, like my dad, returned from service with barely two nickels to run together. If there is a way for you to make a difference with a vet—through your volunteer tutoring, through your church or place of worship, or through your local community college—it will make a difference. This Veteran’s Day, we can all honor those who gave their lives by honoring in real time those who are rejoining our society and deserve every advantage, dignity and opportunity that we can offer.