Veterans Day inspires gratitude in the community

These+medals+and+awards+have+been+earned+by+this+Veteran.+It%27s+incredible+that+one+person+can+give+their+country+so+much.

Arianna Jones

These medals and awards have been earned by this Veteran. It's incredible that one person can give their country so much.

Arianna Jones, Reporter

The “Holiday Season” seems to go from Halloween to Thanksgiving and on to Christmas. But there is one holiday in November that is still a part of the mix. Veteran’s Day is held on November 11th which is the anniversary of the end of World War I. The holiday honors United States veterans and those in the Armed Forces of all wars.

Emily Wayment, a senior, has a sister who is currently serving as an Arabic cryptologic linguist going on three years. That means she is responsible for identifying foreign communications.

Wayment explains, “She has become a much stronger person by joining the military, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I think through this experience she has become much more independent.”

The sister left at the end of Wayment’s ninth grade year to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for basic training. They stay in touch mainly through text and only see each other in person one or two times a year.

“It was extremely hard because she was probably my best friend and then she was gone. I knew she would never be the same again as well, which was hard to accept,” Wayment describes.

Jason Garn, a junior, has two uncles serving in the Army National Guard. They deployed to Iraq in 2003. He explains that it is rare to have family members serving together in the same unit but his uncles got the opportunity.

“They deal with the stresses of being deployed like the possibility of death, having a family at home, and possibly having to take another person’s life,” Garn describes.

He was little when this was going on but he says, “I remember my mom watching the news constantly about the wars worried about her brothers.” He continues, “I knew they weren’t in a great place but I didn’t quite understand why.”

In World War II, Garn had a great grandfather and a great uncle who served. His great uncle was killed in the war.

“It makes me feel pretty proud to know I have a current and past family serving. I plan on continuing this sort of family tradition of serving in the military.”

He shares his gratitude for those who have served and those in the service. Garn explains they all have become role models to him especially because of their sacrifices.

“They give up their minds and deal with PTSD and other emotional side effects. They sacrifice their bodies by putting themselves in conditions most of us never will have to experience. They leave their families, parents, and friends all so we can enjoy what we are blessed with today.”

A junior, Chase Chesley, also has an uncle in the military. He says, “He joined the military for a new direction.” Chesley shares, “We get along very well and enjoy sharing inside military jokes. He is a joy to be around.”

His uncle began working on cargo planes in the Middle East. He is now serving as a Commanding Officer in Hawaii. But Chesley’s uncle was in Antarctica for Christmas at one point in time.

“It was annoying to see him less but I knew he was up to good. I do not feel as if his life is threatened so I’m not overly concerned about him being away.”

Sergeant Konrad Wilson is the adviser of Taylorsville High School’s JROTC: Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. He has Wayment, Garn, and Chesley in his classes.

He describes JROTC as “a leadership development class that motivates young people to be better citizens.”

Sergeant Wilson served as a paratrooper, a radar and missile defense operator, a recruiter, and in other offices of the Forces for over 20 years! He has served in multiple countries including Panama, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

“You have dreams and you have nightmares. Given it all to do again, I would,” Sergeant Wilson says. “So many of our forefathers sacrificed so much for us, it was my turn to pay them back.”

Veterans Day is a holiday to recognize that sacrifice. It is a way to show appreciation. With people showing gratitude, some Veterans like the acknowledgement while others shy away from it.

Sergeant Wilson shares, “Everybody should show everybody respect.”

He explains he doesn’t necessarily crave the attention and praise, but wants to make a difference in his students’ lives.