PNW Pioneer

Veterans Appreciation Day

Celebration on PNW campuses honored veterans

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PNW recognized Veterans Day through a week of celebration on the Westville and Hammond campus.

On Nov. 6 at the Hammond campus, flags were raised and Tony Sindone, professor of finance and economic development and the director of the Center for Economic Development and Research, made remarks about Veterans Day. He was in the Air Force and in Active Duty from 1973 to 1979. He was also in the Reserves until 1985.

On Nov. 10 at the Westville campus, flags were raised and Retired Col. Richard Ligon, who has 36 years of military service with the United States Army, made remarks.

“Veterans Day is just one day out of the year that we should remember that each breath we take has been bought and paid for by those who had stated in a loud, clear voice that our freedom is their personal responsibility,” Sindone said. “I firmly believe that this understanding should exist beyond Veterans Day.”

Sindone had originally enlisted during the Vietnam War but was not able to fight because America started to pull out from the war in 1975. He said he enlisted to follow the footsteps of members in his family and he saw the Air Force as an opportunity to learn new skills. He eventually became a radar technician in the Air Force and later used those skills to land a job at Lockheed Martin, an aerospace and defense company. Under the G.I. Bill, he went to college part time and joined the Reserves because he still wanted to serve America.

Sindone said that his experiences as a veteran helped him to become the person he is today and that the discipline, tenacity and ability to solve problems he learned while he was in service has helped him throughout his life.

“We are the sum total of all of our experiences. Every experience we have, good or bad, molds us into the person we ultimately become. Each veteran had very different experiences, different stories. We are not a monolithic group. We are as diverse as the rest of the country, but the one thing we all have in common is that we once served something greater than ourselves,” Sindone said.

Kathleen Franklin, sophomore communication major, said that Veterans Day and events honoring Veterans Day are important to her because her father, Jim Franklin, served in the army at the end of the Cold War and to the beginning of the First Gulf War in 1991. He was stationed in Germany and Saudi Arabia.

“My dad joined the army because he thought that it was important to serve your country in some way,” Franklin said.

Franklin said that while her father was at war he did feel lonely, but her mother sent him books and letters which he received on Christmas morning.

“While it was a small thing, he felt connected to his home,” Franklin said.

Franklin believes that this is why it is important to recognize soldiers and their sacrifice.

“It’s really important that students understand that even if you’re not pro war that we need to respect soldiers. They are trying to serve their country the best way they can,” Franklin said. “You have to understand the sacrifice that people in the military make. Out of the first 108 weeks my parents were married, they spent less than eight weeks together and part of that time, he was serving in Operation Desert Storm.”

Sindone agreed with Franklin.

“Just remember our lives, our joys and our freedom are all because a veteran had raised their right hand and solemnly swore to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Sindone said.

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