Sunday is Veterans Day, and because of that timing, observances are planned over a more extended period.
On Friday, Franklin College will have its annual Veterans Day luncheon. The speaker this year will be 1st Lt. Jesse Hoffman of the Indiana National Guard. The Franklin College alumnus will talk about his experience serving in the military while going to school.
On Saturday, a program is planned in Indianapolis; and on Sunday, a Greenwood church has scheduled an event. On Monday, programs include the traditional program at the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin and one at Clark-Pleasant Middle School.
These programs all are heartfelt and important. They honor those who served and continue to serve the nation in the military. It is a small way of saying thanks.
But a sign at the gate of a farm near Trafalgar reminds us that our thanks shouldn’t be limited to a single holiday. It reads: Every day is Veterans Day.
In that vein, Franklin College, IUPU Columbus, Ivy Tech Community College-Columbus/Franklin and Harrison College all were cited as “Military Friendly Schools” by G.I. Jobs magazine, a publication that caters to active duty service members and veterans.
The welcoming attitude shown the military on many college campuses today is an outgrowth of the spirit of patriotism that was awakened by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania. But it is also a reflection of the responsibility assumed by many college and university administrators to see that those who do volunteer for service are not cheated of any opportunities and are afforded the rights to begin or continue their educations.
Leaders on the local campuses have been in the forefront of this movement. All offer resources to help veterans and their families gain admission and to assist in applying for benefits that will pay for a portion or all of their post-secondary education. All have on-site professionals specifically tasked with assisting veterans and their families with financial-aid issues.
The veterans also benefit from student networks established by fellow veterans. Several have branches of a Student Veterans Military Association, which affords veterans the opportunity to interact with other veterans and deal with issues unique to their service.
Instead of feeling alienated on local college campuses, a number of returning veterans have described the local atmosphere as “phenomenal.” Indeed, it can be described as a partnership between the schools and the veterans, one that is centered on the recognition of the sacrifices made by these men and women in uniform.
This kind of continuing recognition of service and support for those in the military is highly commendable and a model for the rest of us to follow. While the holiday traditionally is observed Nov. 11, by honoring veterans throughout the year, every day can be Veterans Day.