The Chronicle’s View

By , , , and

On Sunday, Nov. 11, universities across the country will celebrate the lives and sacrifices of U.S. veterans. The University of Utah is no exception. It will host events throughout the weekend, specifically honoring those who fought in World War II.

In a time of international crisis, honoring veterans is especially significant, not only for the monumental sacrifices they made, but also for the priceless lessons that their pasts offer.

Imagine that tomorrow you must abandon all of your future aspirations. Imagine leaving behind family and friends for something that is, invariably, the most unpredictable, dangerous situation you have ever faced. Imagine doing all of this at the age of 20?the average age of those serving in the U.S. military during WWII. As students, we have more in common with veterans than is apparent.

With no immediate resolution to the conflicts erupting in the Middle East, chances are that many U.S. citizens?college students included?will begin to anticipate their involvement in the fight against terrorism.

There is no complete means by which to prepare for the unpredictable tosses and turns of war. However, by talking to veterans?by absorbing the narrative of their experiences?we can begin to realize the extent of their tremendous and admirable sacrifices.

In a time when the glamorous stars of Hollywood war films masquerade as laudable public figures, the real heroes are veterans.

Many of them went to war boldly, without hesitation, while others departed, tempering their misgivings. The point remains, however, all of these veterans proceeded?They put their lives on the line and unified for a cause.

Their service to this country is immeasurable. And the sacrifices they made?physically, mentally and emotionally?will live on, as veterans share their knowledge.

It is important that we, as a university community, realize the value of listening to their stories. However, we should not restrict this simply to one holiday. Veterans confronted unfathomable challenges. As time quickly passes, we must embrace the opportunity to be students and learn invaluable lessons from those who came before us.