Meramec remembers those who have served
By: KATELYN ERICSON
From its birth in 1919 to the present, Veterans Day has been a day of remembrance. On Nov. 11, Americans remember the duty and sacrifice of men and women who served and currently serve in the military.
Veterans Day’s roots spring from the end of World War I. After four years of fighting in the war to end all wars, the Central Powers surrendered to the United States and her allies. The armistice that ended the fighting came into effect at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.
Originally, Veterans Day was called Armistice Day. Its purpose was to honor World War I veterans.
“It’s a day to remember and give thanks to all who served,” Meramec professor of mathematics and Vietnam veteran Jim Frost said. “These are individuals who left and they’re coming back — some of them have seen combat. We need to look at them with gratitude.”
Frost served in the army for two years. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. He then was deployed to Turkey for two weeks during his service.
“I was in the 82nd Airborne Division,” Frost said. “I was a radio operator.”
Mike Burke, professor of English, served in the army for 27 years. He retired in 2000.
Burke served two tours in Germany, taught English at West Point, and was at the Pentagon, he said. In 1990 and 1991, he spent time in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
For Burke, Veterans Day is a time to think about the people he worked with, the places he was stationed and the struggles of military life.
“If you don’t like your job, you can walk away. In the military, you can’t,” Frost said.
Burke, Frost and Elizabeth Granier are the sponsors for STLCC-Meramec’s Veterans Club. Burke and Frost were the original sponsors when the club began five years ago.
The club provides social activities for its members, serves the community through various projects and helps veterans integrate back into civilian life, Burke said. We look at college policy and see how the college can best serve the veterans, Burke said.
“Each STLCC campus has improved and streamlined their policies to help veterans,”Burke said.
“The club seeks to serve the community — especially veterans,” Frost said. “Ultimately, all of the veterans are brothers. We need to carry through that idea.”
Serving in the military gave him a new appreciation for the role of educated citizens engaged in their country and its politics, Burke said.
“There’s a lot of ways to be good citizens. I think students don’t realize they can be good citizens too if they apply their education in a useful way.” Burke said.
The time Frost spent in the military gave him a new perspective on relationships and people, Frost said. It gave him the commonality of serving and going through the process of serving with others, learning to overlook others’ faults and looking at people as individuals.
“I have a lot of friends from the military,” Frost said. “In the military, someone is covering your back, and you’ve got that same responsibility.”
Of the veteran students at Meramec whom Frost knew, he said, “They are motivated. They have goals. They’re independent.”