Universities should acknowledge veterans

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Originally known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was first proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on Nov. 11, 1919, to recognize the end of World War I. Seven years later, Congress passed a concurrent resolution to observe the holiday with the appropriate ceremonies.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the holiday, expanding it to honor all veterans. The same year, Congress officially renamed Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Why the history lesson? Because I find it appalling that the University of Alaska system fails to adequately honor those veterans, past and present, who have continually sacrificed to ensure that the rights of all Americans are protected. I have been researching all three web sites - UAF, UAA and UAS - and I cannot find (yet) any mention that Nov. 11 is even a holiday much less one that I feel one of our most important holidays. (Memorial Day also has great significance).

I have done searches for any mention of Veterans Day on these Web sites, and the closest I can come is the veterans' services as part of the admissions of each campus. It seems they are willing to help veterans pay for studies (thus increasing their revenue) but can't acknowledge those same veterans' service to this country.

The state and federal government recognize this day, so why can't the state's university system? As a non-traditional student attending UAS, the fact that a clear majority of my classmates did not even know that there was a holiday, much less why it was celebrated, was sad and disheartening.

The staff, faculty, students and alumni of this university system do not have to agree with politics of current or past administrations, but they should recognize the sacrifices of those who protected their ability to disagree, especially in today's world of continuing hardship and extreme sacrifice for our active duty members and veterans.

As I heard someone say before, "Honor the person, not the politics." So I would challenge not only those of the UA system but all Alaskans on Nov. 11 to seek out a veteran and thank them for their service. Just this simple act recognizing them would be appreciated by all veterans past and present.

And finally, I call on all Alaska veterans to lobby your politicians to correct this lack of recognition to past, present and future veterans by the university system.

David R. Chandler


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