Service for their sacrifice

Published 2:07 pm Saturday, November 11, 2023

At 11:11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month I hope you take some time to reflect on Veteran’s Day. It is a day where we can honor all who have served and remember those who gave all. 

Hopefully, Veteran’s Day is not the only day you think about the sacrifices which have kept this nation free. If you have never been to the Brookhaven Military Museum, I highly recommend you stop by and check out the history and connection our area has to military service. 

One of the volunteers at the museum is a Vietnam veteran and had several family members who served before him. When he came back home from the war, he taught engineering classes and worked at Mississippi State University. It is likely he was drafted into the service but he was willing to go and did go. 

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When writing Veteran’s Day stories I often ask what made the person want to serve, why did they go. Oftentimes, their reason for serving is a culmination of things from patriotic duty, to having family who served before them, and looking for a career in the military. 

At Mississippi State University the tradition of military service has been highlighted since the founding of the school in 1878. My freshman year I walked all over campus and stopped at each war memorial, taking a moment to read the words or the names of the Bulldogs who served.

In Lee Hall, a mural depicts students laying down their books in exchange for guns to serve in World War 1. The Reflector, MSU’s student newspaper and the oldest student newspaper in the SEC, had to be run by MSU staff during the war due to the men who left campus to serve. It is kind of hard to wrap your head around the sacrifices given in the World Wars. 

My favorite game each year is the Military Appreciation Game. While it is fun to ring your cowbell in tune with Toby Keith’s song “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue,” and each service branch’s anthem, I enjoy when the public address announcer asks for the veterans who have served or are continuing to serve to stand up. 

You can see a wide variety of people who have given to something more than themselves. They are then applauded with a chorus of clanging cowbells. Growing up, I felt a great sense of pride when my grandfather was recognized with other veterans at Arkansas Razorback games. I still feel a sense of pride knowing he is getting a standing ovation eight hours away in Fayetteville.  

Veterans Day is also a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and never came home. To them we owe a great debt. To the veterans who were able to come back, we should thank them for their service not only with words but with our lives, as local veteran Kris Xifos said. 

I’m grateful for the men and women who answered the call and have served or continue to serve our country. While I would be willing and able to go if ever called upon, I’m thankful for their sacrifice allowing me to work in my calling as a writer. 

Lastly, I would like to challenge you to think about how you can serve or make a positive impact in your community. Maybe you can join a volunteer fire department, help with Brookhaven Animal Rescue League, cut grass for old ladies, or be a good steward to the outdoors. Let’s make the most of the sacrifices our veterans make.