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Veterans are “a Rather Elite Group”

Published on November 14, 2016

Veterans are “a Rather Elite Group”

Colonel Frederick Miclon Jr., director of staff at the Joint Force Headquarters for the Connecticut National Guard, delivered the keynote address on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, during Eastern Connecticut State University’s special tribute to the men and women who serve in the nation’s military. 600 veterans and active service personnel teach and work at Eastern, and 300 students are veterans.

Miclon, an Iraq War veteran, said that since the American Revolution, more than 42 million Americans have served during times of war, not including the three to four million currently fighting in the global War on Terror since 2001. “42 million sounds like a very large number, but when you put it in perspective, less than one half of one percent of all Americans are currently serving in the military, making it a rather elite group.”
Miclon said many Americans take their freedoms for granted, forgetting the oath veterans take and the blood they shed to support and defend the Constitution, which preserves the freedoms Americans cherish. “This is not something we take lightly. You are pledging to give your all, up to and including laying down your life if necessary. That very oath is something that binds us together, a brotherhood of shared experiences and commitment unlike that required in almost any other job in our great land. Most Americans however cannot truly appreciate the significance that the impact of service in the military can have on a veteran. As we know, many suffer in silence bearing the burdens of their service alone.”

Miclon concluded by saying, “Whether it is in life or in death, not just on Veterans Day, it is important for us to not only recognize our veterans, but to educate our children and young adults of the many sacrifices made since the days of the revolution by men and women who answered the call.  Without that knowledge, it is difficult to understand and appreciate the cost of freedom and the price paid for the rights we enjoy as Americans.”

Eastern President Elsa Núñez agreed: “Not only do our veterans represent us as they defend our freedoms, they are the finest example — the most fitting proof — that ‘all men (and women) are created equal.’  In the trenches, all of the amenities of modern life are set aside and all the trappings of class and position are forgotten when our military forces place their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. There is not a more pure example of human beings existing for each other and for the common good than on the battlefield. That is where ‘democracy’ has its finest hour.”

Núñez noted that her grandfather served in World War I; her father in World War II; and her brother in the Vietnam War, and that seven and a half years after opening its Veteran’s Center, Eastern is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the 15 most veteran-friendly campuses in the North.

Other Veteran’s Day ceremony speakers included Kenneth Bedini, Eastern’s vice president for student affairs; Father Laurence LaPointe, director of Eastern’s Campus Ministry; and Sergeant First Class (Retired) CTARNG Rebekah Avery, coordinator of Eastern’s Veteran’s Center.

Written by Dwight Bachman