American flags surrounded UW-Eau Claire as members of the community walked across campus to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
Veterans Day honors the service both past and present members of the military have given to the United States. The campus has turned this day of honor into an entire week of events to raise awareness to veteran support.
Miranda Cross-Schindler, the veteran and military services manager on campus, said she values her role to provide benefits and resources for current student veterans and veteran families on campus.
“We try to do something every year for Veterans Day. This is a really good way for our students to be involved and give back,” Cross-Schindler said.
According to Blugold Central, the UW-Eau Claire campus hosted the Vietnam Veterans of America-Chapter 351 organization and their mobile museum “Reflections of Vietnam” in the Haas Fine Arts Center.
Cross-Schindler said this year’s showcase, “Reflections of Vietnam” helped spread the message of Veteran’s Day to both the student body and the community of Eau Claire.
“(Organizations) do not ever want to have one generation of veterans forget another generation of veterans. This is a brotherhood and we honor and respect those who have served before us,” Cross-Schindler said.
Richard Daseke, an active member of the Vietnam Veterans of America-Chapter 351, said he was amazed at the level of participation the university had and the eagerness to ask questions about their past service in the Vietnam War.
“I was quite surprised at the quantity of people that went past our display, I did not expect as many people,” Daseke said. “The questions that were asked tell us a lot about how interested people are in it and how much they really know about the Vietnam War.”
This year, the UW-Eau Claire campus was also recognized through the Military Times “Best for Vets: Colleges 2020” as one of the top veteran support universities in the United States.
This award is given to universities for their exemplary services for both active and retired service members.
Cross-Schindler said this year’s celebration and award was a great way to show not only the realities of a veteran’s past service, yet the lives veterans continue to live in their community.
“This is an award we are really proud of and shows the leadership on campus has invested in our student veterans,” Cross-Schindler said. “Some of our veterans are very proud and want others to know they have served.”
Daseke said the perspectives of veteran service vary between the old and new generations and is relieved to see the younger generation as willing to open themselves to new perspectives.
“From my perspective, the Wisconsin universities were not our best friends when we returned from Vietnam,” Daseke said. “To come to these universities now and see the more open-mindedness, to see them start to understand that freedom is not cheap, and people realize that and respect it, is good to see.”
The UW-Eau Claire Military and Veteran’s Services and Veteran’s Club are options on campus for the veteran community to receive support and benefits toward post-secondary education.
Cross-Schindler said she encourages students to become involved with the veteran community that surrounds the Eau Claire campus. To join organizations or even taking a history course on the subject
“Do not be afraid and stigmatize veterans based off of what you hear in the media. Be thankful for the freedoms that we have,” Cross-Schindler said. “We have those because of our fellow student veterans,”
Daseke said he hopes students and faculty across the university obtain something from their exhibit and speeches and to support those who choose to serve the United States.
“Respect those that choose to go and keep our country free. The lack of respect is the thing that hurt us more than anything,” Daseke said. “Even though you may choose to not go into the service, respect those that do.”
For more information on veteran support services contact Cross-Schindler at [email protected]
Nelson can be reached at [email protected]