COLUMN: Thank a veteran; love your country

Spencer Jenkins

Whether you agree with wars in the past or the current war — I don’t care as long as you support our troops and veterans.

American men and women courageously put their lives in danger for you and me everyday.

From World War I to the current wars in the Middle East, heroes have fought and still fight for the freedoms and democracy of America.

Why do we only set aside one day to celebrate veterans and their service to our country? Don’t get me wrong. I’m beyond proud to celebrate Veterans Day in America, but to me every day should be Veterans Day.

Every day we should thank a veteran we know with a handshake or a simple thank you. Every day we should think about our men and women overseas risking their lives for us. And every day we should pray that our men and women come home safe — not only physically unharmed, but mentally as well.

During my time as a reporter I have interviewed veterans and men, and women deployed overseas. I can’t think of many other people I respect more.

I’m so proud that WKU is dedicating a panel on Guthrie Tower to 1st Lt. Eric D. Yates, who was killed by a roadside bomb last year in Afghanistan.

After his death, alumna Jessica Ray said Yates was someone she could be comfortable around.

“Like so many people, I never realized just how much I took my freedom and country for granted until I was close to someone fighting to protect that freedom,” she said.

Her thoughts about war and death are shared amongst many people in America, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Sometimes as Americans we see a man or a woman in a uniform whose only duty is combat. Almost like they are robots. However this is far from the truth. Veterans and people serving our country are people with real emotions and real lives, and the least they deserve is a big thank you.

My uncle served in World War I, my grandpa served in the Korean War and my stepdad served in the Navy. I know what it’s like to have military in your family, and it can be tough. We as Americans need to take into consideration what our men and women have been through and have been going through and support them as a nation.

Yes, I know, many people don’t agree with war. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about supporting our troops and veterans who have put their lives on the line and even lost their lives for our freedom.

War is an ugly thing, but the Americans who serve in ugly wars are amazing people who deserve respect and gratitude from all of us.

So today, find a veteran you know or seek out a veteran and just say “thank you.”

You know what it’s like when someone thanks you for something you’ve done, right? It feels amazing. Make a veteran, or someone overseas right now feel amazing.