What Can We Learn From Veterans 


Elora Menard presents her speech at the Veterans’ Day ceremony. Photo credit: Paxton Getty

Elora Menard, Contributor

This is a speech that Elora Menard (’23) prepared and presented at the 2022 Saint Albans’ Veterans’ Day Ceremony at Taylor Park.

I came from a military family, my brother, my grandfather, my cousins, great-uncles, and so on, and this has affected my life a lot. My family and I have had the experience of being scared and worried when we have a family member deployed. Growing up, I always looked up to my family members that served as being so amazing that they did that, or were still continuing to do that. I grew up seeing my superheroes wearing combat boots and dog tags. It is true that fictional superheroes can fly, or have super speed, but they are indeed fictional. These Veterans sitting behind me, and military servicemen, are the real heroes. Just because Veterans may not be wearing the uniform anymore, they will always be heroes to me and should be to everyone else as well. Like I mentioned before, growing up I saw anyone who answered the call to serve as heroes but I didn’t know in depth how much respect would end up having for them, and the sacrifices that they made every day just to make sure that the people in America were safe. Now that I am grown, I see just how amazing these Vets and military service members really are. These men and women are the symbols of bravery; they decided to answer the call and serve to help achieve the safety of America, and we will forever be indebted to them for it.

Nelson Mandela once said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” These military service members and Veterans exemplify this quote by the fearlessness that they show every day by being here and the sacrifices that they have made. Unfortunately, America’s past has not been entirely supportive of its Veterans. In recent years our country has evolved and has put into place a number of supporting programs for our military. Some of these programs include the Veterans Service Organizations, the Wounded Warriors Project, and much more. Also, in recent years, there has been a ton of research done on PTSD. Our country has put together a number of great programs to help out brave heroes process the ugliness of war. Our military personnel deserves our understanding and our support when coming home from serving our great country.

Our Veterans are the symbols of many of our core values. For example with leadership, they have modeled for us what it means to be a real patriot, they have led our country through many difficult times and protected us through them. They showed teamwork by being there for each other during times of war or being in fear. They exemplify a real brotherhood with each other and keep the commitment to protecting our country and the people inside of it. When I think of service before self and integrity, I think of the Veterans and military service members. These Veterans and military service members show true service before themselves by serving this great country, risking their lives and being away from their families so this country will stay safe and prevail. 

These brave heroes make so many sacrifices that will never be forgotten and their brave families are appreciated for the support that they have given them as well. Real bravery is being scared and continuing and pushing past that fear for the greater good and safety of the people of America. It is so important that when we see someone wearing a military uniform, veterans hat, or something that indicates their service, that we take a moment to say thank you for their service. Showing appreciation to military personnel is the least that we can do for the people that risked their lives to keep our country free. I have come to admire the men and women of our country and the military, and the values that they uphold. Their selflessness has inspired me to want to also serve and protect the people of this great nation. Because of this, I am in the process of enlisting in the Air Force National Guard to help uphold and protect the values and morals I have come to love. This comes from the bottom of my heart: thank you for your service brave men and women, you deserve our utmost respect and support for all that you have sacrificed for this great nation. You are the true meaning of being a patriot.