On Nov. 4, Mercyhurst will be recognizing Veterans Day with a tailgate and national anthem tribute during the football game against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The definition of a veteran, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is a person who, “served in the active military, naval or air service, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”
Memorial Day, which is celebrated on the last Monday of May is celebrated to recognize those people who served in the military and died while serving. Veterans Day, celebrated each year on Nov. 11, recognizes all individuals who served in the U.S. military.
Josh Wahl, junior Public Health major, served as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps for eight years.
“Veterans Day to me is a day to remember all of the veterans that had served in the armed forces,” said Wahl. “I do not particularly expect to be thanked from others by being given free meals or discounts (although it is nice), but rather just have everyone appreciate what we had fought for.”
Joshua Froess, junior Biology and Public Health double major, is a specialist in the Army National Guard and has served for four and a half years.
While it is important to honor the military personnel serving domestically, Froess recommends honoring those who cannot be with their families due to deployment.
“Veterans Day is something important for me to more honor people who are deployed and men and women who have in the past been deployed, since they have done the most, especially if they are in a war zone,” Froess said.
Mercyhurst prides itself in being a veteran-friendly school. Services provided to veteran students include a full service veterans service office, a student resource center and priority registration.
“I do feel like I am appreciated within Mercyhurst with the ability to sign up for next term’s classes with the seniors,” said Wahl. “I also do feel appreciated in some of my classes I have taken in previous semesters by professors thanking me for the sacrifice I made, and also wanting to learn more about my life in those eight years.”
Karen Morahan, Ph.D., assistant professor of Nursing, served in the United States Air Force for 20 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
“I think that it is an important day to have to recognize the sacrifice that people have made for their country. Sacrifice does not necessarily mean that someone has sacrificed their life. But there are certainly other things that are sacrificed,” Morahan said.
Like Wahl, Morahan recognizes that some veterans, while appreciating the honor of Veteran’s Day would rather people be thankful privately for what the veterans have fought for.
“I know that a lot of veterans do not want to be recognized and would rather just transition into civilian life and close that chapter of their life, but I do think that it is important to make the effort to give some recognition,” she said.
The Nov. 4 festivities will begin with a tailgate-style barbecue and conclude with a tribute during the national anthem. Morahan was involved in planning the event.
“We are hosting a barbecue-style buffet, and then the marching band will be there to play patriotic music. We have a 30-by-60-foot American flag that is going to be revealed for the national anthem,” Morahan said. “Our football players and our senior players are going to be the ones who hold the flag on the field. So we are trying to involve the student community as well. That will conclude the tribute itself.”
There will also be a plaque put up at the game on an easel. People will be able to sign it, thanking veterans for their service. After the game it will be hung in the Veterans Student Resource Center.
All of these events are appreciated by veteran students.
“I believe Veterans Day is important because I think that people take for granted the things that are given to them,” said Wahl. “When Veterans Day comes around, I see a change in people’s attitudes towards this country and what privileges they had others fight for.”