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Opinion | Students: take real action to support veterans year round

Published: Monday, November 12, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 22:11

April 15, 1970 over 300 Miami students gathered in Rowan Hall, the then-Naval ROTC building, to protest the Vietnam War.

Ohio State Highway Patrol and state troopers were called in to remove protestors from the building and used violent force, including mace, tear-gas, hair pulling and police dogs.

By the end of the night, 184 were arrested for trespassing.

The Miami Student editorial board would like to reflect on this event in light of this weekend’s Veterans Day celebrations.

An enormous shift in societal attitudes has occurred since this protest on Miami’s campus 42 years ago.

While the United States is still involved in an unpopular war, support for the troops fighting overseas remains.

We find that the United States is, for the most part, split into two groups—those who support the war and support the troops and those who don’t support the war but still support the troops.

We do not believe students today (in no danger of being drafted) would take to the streets demanding the ROTC program be removed from campus.

Instead, we see our Facebook and Twitter pages filled with messages of support for American veterans and soldiers.

But, we need to go beyond posting a status on Facebook.

That status, while heartwarming, won’t help a veteran looking for a job or a soldier overseas.

While our generation is extremely supportive of the troops, we have also been able to remove ourselves from the wars our country is involved in.

For most students at Miami, the United States has been at war for over half our lives.

If we don’t want to know about the war in Afghanistan we don’t have to.

And we don’t have to worry about a draft card with our name on it.

Students today take part in “passive activism”—we take to Twitter instead of the streets to share our opinions.

All our views on veterans can be expressed from the comfort of our own home.

We must find a way to translate this passive activism into real action.

So many troops are coming home and becoming jobless.

These are soldiers who have learned skills necessary for any job while in a war zone, yet they cannot find a job in civilian industries.

The editorial board believes this problem must be solved through grassroots activism. Congress has passed numerous veterans bills but the problem remains.

We believe states need to have systems in place that allow troops to translate their experience in the field to work back home.

We find it inexcusable that a soldier who is a doctor in Afghanistan cannot become one back home simply because he or she does not have the right paperwork.

We must find a way to line up what soldiers learn overseas with paper and ink requirements in the United States.

Too often issues such as this become politicized, but taking care of our veterans should not be a red or blue issue.

It is an issue of giving back to those who gave so much for us.

At the end of the day, reading this editorial and nodding in agreement does nothing to help our veterans.

Go out and take real action.

Put together care packages for troops overseas.

Raise money for veterans who need medical help. Push your government to make real changes regarding veterans.

Do something to help our veterans, don’t just talk about it.

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