Veterans Day has larger meaning for students

Christy Johnson and Christy Johnson

To some people, Veterans’ Day is just a day off from classes. But to others, like John Grecol, it’s much more.

“Veterans’ Day is a day to honor the people that have protected our freedom, it is a day to honor heroes,” said Grecol, senior and Alpha Phi Omega member.

Different organizations around Bowling Green are working to make this Veterans’ Day special not only for those who have served, but for the soldiers and families currently dealing with the war in Iraq.

The Student Alumni Connection, and the service learning fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, have been working together to sell ribbons and badges to raise money for AMvets, an organization which sells items to raise money for veterans’ needs. Ribbons and badges can be purchased for $1 and $10, respectively, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Wednesday in the front tables of the Union.

“Seeing the ribbons always make me think about awareness and student involvement in Veterans’ Day,” said Bethany Torres, senior, and Alpha Phi Omega member.

There will also be a banquet held by the Student Alumni Connection and Alpha Phi Omega from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow evening in room 308 of the Union to honor and celebrate veterans.

Sergeant First Class Nathan Aguinaga will be speaking about his tour in Iraq, where he helped set up schools. He returned to the United States and has been with Bowling Green’s Army ROTC program since Spring semester of 2006.

The banquet is open to everyone, and there will also be a flag presentation and refreshments.

Along with raising money and hosting the banquet, members of the Student Alumni Connection and Alpha Phi Omega are writing letters to soldiers from northwest Ohio, sending encouragement and comfort.

“The letter writing campaign was really meaningful to me,” said Katy Morgan, senior and Alpha Phi Omega member. “It really helps us connect with local soldiers and makes them feel closer to home.”

This collaborated effort is not the only one on campus helping connect students with soldiers and families of soldiers.

The Veteran Assessment Group, headed by Brett Holden, residential academic program lecturer, works closely with the 148th bravo company, Bowling Green’s national guard chapter. The company is currently touring in Iraq.

Members of the Veteran Assessment Group write letters to soldiers, help out around the homes of families of solders and are in contact with soldiers touring in Iraq via e-mail and telephone conversations up to twice a week.

“Students understand people that go to war make sacrifices,” Holden said. “But civilians do not see the depths that war reaches at home.”

Through his classes, Literature of War, which is underway now, and Literature of Film and War, which will be offered Spring 2007, Holden hopes to really show students the human impact of war.

“Families have to deal with loved ones being away, wondering whether or not they will get hurt or be killed, it is extremely straining on relationships at home,” he said.