Remembering veterans

After teaching as a public school band director, Dr. Steven Grimo, associate professor of music, decided to use his talents to serve his country. His role, which was unlike the typical combat military role, allowed him to direct military bands around the United States as well as around the world.

There are many veterans in both the student and faculty population on Malone’s campus. These men, including Grimo, have sacrificed in order to insure equality and freedom to those living in the United States.

Dr. Grimo directed the Air force band during his military career (Photo courtesy of Dr. Grimo)

Dr. Grimo directed the Air force band during his military career (Photo courtesy of Dr. Grimo)

“That’s what they fight for…equality, trust… allowing you to live how you want to live and make choices that you believe in,” Grimo said.

With Veteran’s Day impending, now is a season to think about the battles each service member has fought and remember their service.

“Veterans aren’t looking for [recognition]”, said Grimo.

Perhaps this is why Veterans Day is often perceived as an overlooked holiday. This also may be due to the fact that many live privileged lives often oblivious to the pain and suffering around us.

Veterans should not only be recognized on one day a year, but continually thanked for their sacrifice.

Grimo said, “We forget about the people that have served the country honorably. They have served the soil that we all enjoy here”

Forgetting the service of veterans happens all too easily, and many students may not even recognize when they are the in presence of a veteran.

“How many times have you met a veteran? How many times you have realized someone is a veteran? Don’t be afraid to ask…say something and thank them for their service,” Grimo said.

Grimo is not the only person in the Malone community who has sacrificed for the sake of the nation.

Joshua Daniels, non-traditional Bible and theology major, declined a full-ride scholarship in order to join the infantry.

“I had seen a poster of a Special Forces guy coming out of the water with a rifle,” Daniels said, “and I said that’s what I want to do.”

Daniels had always been a hard worker, but the structure of his military experience gave him helped refine that talent and trained him to be a better leader.

“I believe all the things that happen in our lives are stepping stones for our future. I believe God has put me in [the military] to use me as a tool in my future of ministry,” Daniels said.

Jhonathan Zapata, non-traditional Bible and Theology major, served as a mechanic in the Air Force. He had a friend who was joining, and since planes had always intrigued him, he thought it would be a great experience.

“I went in for an adventure, and I got an adventure out of it, and it was awesome,” Zapata said.

Zapata made strong friendships within the military because members had to depend on each other so much. He also appreciated the work that the military did outside of combat such as providing humanitarian work after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

“It was cool being apart of a team like that”, said Zapata.

Jhonathan Zapata worked as a Airforce mechanic during his military career (Photo by Liz Hehman)

Jhonathan Zapata worked as a Airforce mechanic during his military career (Photo by Liz Hehman)

After serving for five years, Zapata decided to retire. This decision was partly because of the long workdays and the stress that accompanied them, but also because he did not want to make a living fixing planes that dropped bombs.

“Whether you think killing is justified or not,” said Zapata, “it is still service so we remember those who have served.”

Remembering service can be difficult when inside a sheltered worldview, and this can be especially true within the Malone bubble.

“I feel like we are very sheltered and protected here in the [United] States because we have a lot of people who are willing to sacrifice their lives,” Zapata said.

With so many men and women fighting overseas it is it is important to remember the sacrifices they have given.

Kayla Lindgren is a contributing writer for The Aviso



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