By Rebecca Carvell
General George S. Patton Jr. said, “The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.”
With Veterans Day just around the corner, Americans reflect on those who have served for their country. The term “veteran” is usually assumed to mean soldier who has served in combat, but it more broadly includes anyone who has served active duty with a branch of the military.
With more than 370,000 veterans across Minnesota, there are more members of the military on campus than most people would expect. Here are just a few of Bemidji State’s service members’ stories:
Tyler Seward, a junior at BSU, has been a member of Army Reserves since 2013. He was influenced greatly by his grandfather who did 16 years in the Army Reserves, and wanted to join himself in the first grade.
“I also felt that it wasn’t fair that I got to be safe at home with my family and friends while someone else was sacrificing themselves and time at home to keep us safe and felt obligated to give back,” Tyler said.
He is four years into his six-year contract, and plans to reenlist because he has a lot of opportunities opening up to him. Tyler wants people to know that the military isn’t a constant state of training. Professors are usually very understanding about students with military obligations.
In 2016, Tyler had to miss two weeks of school for training and struggled to stay motivated to do schoolwork after a 14 hour day. Oftentimes, he may not be able to get coursework done because he may be out in the field or in a barracks that doesn’t have internet and will have to make do until he can get back to campus.
Larry Hanenberger, third year student at BSU, has been a member of the Army National Guard since 2014. Larry said that he wanted to join because of his sense of patriotism and a sense of duty. Part of him also liked that military will aid with school. However, he does not plan on reenlisting at the end of his contract. When it comes to school, he does think that it gets in the way sometimes, between having to skip classes or plans with friends. However, he doesn’t regret his decision one bit.
President George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
From all of us, Thank you for your service.