- The Aspen Difference
Honoring Veterans on Veterans Day 2021
Our Seventh Grade Student's service-learning project typically includes connecting with and supporting veterans throughout the year. This year, we invited veterans and active military in our community to an outdoor flag raising followed by coffee and donuts in our Orchard with 7th grade on Wednesday, November 11. Veteran and Middle School Learning Interventionist, Justin Wimbish shared this reflection during the event.
A soldier’s life has particular challenges but the values of Aspen Academy can provide a strong foundation for any journey.
You may not consider a soldier kind. From the perspective of an enemy, certainly not. But I can think of no greater kindness than to offer up your life for the people, values, and ideals you’d die to defend.
To be a soldier is ultimately to be a defender and this is where soldiers get their strength and their mandate. It is not violence soldiers are pursuing, but people, places, and passions they are protecting. Though fighting is among our worst human pastimes, if you must fight, fight for good.
Douglas McArthur, US Army General from WWII, said: “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
Some of these wounds and scars come not in combat, but during preparation. A soldier trains to operate effectively in any condition. This means wet, dry, hot, cold. On land, air, and sea. Any condition can also mean tired, hurt, alone, afraid. A soldier works hard on smart plans. A soldier works hard at building the strength and experience to work even harder. There is no end to improvement, working hard has no finish line.
Make the World Better
For the soldier this is not a request or a suggestion. It is a moral imperative. A mission. When it’s demanded a soldier evaluates, decides, and acts. Big or small, individually or collectively, actions rooted in improving the state of the world and the lives of those in it are honorable and deserving of respect. Soldiers need not be the only ones called to this duty.
Soldiers are named heroes for answering this call, but like all of us, they are humans first, with all our common complexity, frailty, and majesty. We recognize today the entirety of the soldiers we know and those we don’t, who have defended and protected us, enabling us to be here together in safety and peace.
On this Veteran’s Day, to honor the lives offered by soldiers across generations, I encourage you to use the values you learn here to find more humane ways than war to solve conflicts and strive for peace. This, more than any praise or tribute, would be a worthy repayment of their sacrifices.