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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Vets tell meaning of holiday

Vets+tell+meaning+of+holiday

By Hope Sandusky, Brandy Voirin and Jamil Oakford

Veterans Day normally consists of celebratory pomp and circumstance, parades and even free meals at various restaurants as a way for the U.S. to show appreciation for veterans. 

However, that’s something NE student and Army veteran John Fredrick doesn’t want to participate in ever again.

A veteran pays tribute at the NW veterans memorial wall.Photo courtesy TCC
A veteran pays tribute at the NW veterans memorial wall.
Photo courtesy TCC

Two years ago, he sat at a local Applebee’s. After he was offered a celebratory drink, things went down the wrong path, he said.

“One drink turned into two, then eight,” he said. “The next morning, I found myself sleeping in a parking lot and recounting war events for the next week.”

A few years back, Fredrick tried Veterans Day a different way.

“I met up with a few vets for some fun, and it always ends the same way,” he said. “We reminisce about fellow vets who died, or someone will say I saw so-and-so’s widow and the kids, and what was meant to be a normal day turns somber fast.”

And whereas all veterans may not feel the same as Fredrick, many vets do.

“Veterans Day is a day of mixed blessings,” he said. “If people or the government want to thank us, why not offer us jobs instead of turning their noses up when we come home injured with broken bones and mental issues?”

Some see Veterans Day differently. For SE technology instructional associate and former staff sergeant Viola Lindsay, Veterans Day is a time of respect.

“It means a lot,” she said. “I have several veterans in my family, and it’s a chance for me to pay my respects to those I served with.”

A local ROTC group presents the flags at a veterans ceremony on SE Campus in 2012.Collegian file photo
A local ROTC group presents the flags at a veterans ceremony on SE Campus in 2012.
Collegian file photo

Lindsay also sees this as an opportunity for a group of veterans to be visible.

“Women vets get to stand up because people often forget women are veterans too,” she said.

Lindsay commemorates this day in a few ways, mostly in efforts to help serve other veterans.

“One I haven’t been able to do lately is where I perform a service at a nursing home or a cemetery to pay my respects,” she said. “This year, I’m taking part in the Blue Star memorial here on [SE] campus, and I’m very happy to take part in it.”

The college’s VetSuccess on Campus program hopes to pave a bridge for veterans to get the assistance they need.

Comprised of VSOC counselors Bill Cobb and Doug Smith, the program works through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We have set days and rotate through the campuses,” Cobb said. “I go to NE and NW. Doug goes to South, TR and SE.”

The counselors are given office space to use on campus and have scheduled appointments as well as accept walk-ins.

“[We get] referrals from the advising department, the registrar’s office,” Cobb said. “Veterans can also find us online and get information about us from there.”

Cobb says the program’s goal is to aid veterans through all that they might encounter in life.

“It’s all about veterans’ success. What can we do to benefit veterans?” he said.

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