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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Eagle

AU honors those who served on Veterans Day

Correction Appended

Four AU veterans raised the American and Prisoners of War flag on the quad on Thursday morning as Robert Phillips played the reveille on trumpet as a solemn tribute for veterans, both for those serving and those who have passed.

Veteran Marine Corps Lance Corporal Will Hubbard marched down the quad with his fellow soldiers as part of the ceremony.

“To me, Veterans Day is an opportunity for people to recognize the service that military members do, but it’s also an opportunity to remember people that have served that didn’t necessarily make it back,” Hubbard said.

Charlie Fowler, a third year Washington College of Law student, is president of the student group, Veterans of American University. The group consists of a network of veterans and students that have helped incoming veterans adjust to life at AU, Fowler said.

“We’re trying to provide a social service for vets coming in, a peer group for them,” Fowler said. “We advocate for veterans receiving vet’s benefits. There’s quite a few people here who are dependents, they have parents who were in the military or they’re married to somebody who was in the military.”

The rapport between students and veterans at AU is a symbiotic relationship, Fowler said. In addition to easing vets into the civilian and student life once again, AU Vets helps ROTC students learn what it means to be in the military.

AU was also recently named a “Vet Friendly School” in G.I. Jobs Magazine.

One of the criteria for a “Vet Friendly School,” according to G.I. Jobs Magazine, was that the school participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, or Post-9/11 GI Bill.

As part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, by choosing to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program a school enters an agreement to provide up to 50 percent of a veteran’s tuition that exceeds the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The Department of Veterans Affairs will match the same amount the school pays, according to Department of Veterans Affairs website.

The AU administration has facilitated the transition for veterans from the field to the classroom in various other ways, according to Fowler. The AU administration created the Veteran’s Liaison Network to meet monthly to discuss benefits and class enrollment, and collaborate on ways to make the school more “vet friendly,” Fowler said.

AU vets say they have received positive treatment when returning from deployment.

“I think the climate right now is fairly vet-friendly in the United States,” Hubbard said. “There’s certainly periods where it waxed and waned, but I think we’re at a time now where most Americans appreciate the service that most military members do.”

Still, Hubbard and other vets warned that soldiers are often forgotten because of politics on the home front or issues like the economy, which has taken precedence in the news. Though President Obama announced earlier this year that combat in Iraq has ceased, many citizens neglect the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and other regions, Fowler said.

Among those who have recently passed in combat was a friend of Fowler’s, who died in combat two weeks ago.

“There’s people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Southeast Asia, who are serving our country and even though it’s a federal holiday, they don’t get today off,” Fowler said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story identified Will Hubbard as a veteran cadet sergeant. Hubbard is a veteran Marine Corps Lance Corporal.

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