Many kids idolize superheroes for their ability to make evils of the world disappear. Citizens everywhere don’t have to worry about their safety because the superheroes watch over them. If you subtract the ability to turn invisible and add camouflage, you get the real superheroes - soldiers. Protecting the freedoms we enjoy every day and sacrificing the possibility of theirs makes these soldiers the individuals every citizen should respect.
Five veterans (some still active in their respective branches) and members of the Veteran’s Club at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point that held a discussion and shared stories with roughly 25 students from Jefferson Elementary School on Monday. Photos, clothes and letters were passed around as slide projector images of different weapons and vehicles the veterans had used were shown in the Dreyfus University Center Theater Monday afternoon.
The students asked questions ranging from what a purple heart was and what they did with leftover food.
“We wanted to help answer any questions they had because they are really curious,” said Veterans Club President Zach Ruesch. “While some questions may seem goofy to us, if it sheds light on their questions and helps them find answers, we’ve reached our goal. That’s all we wanted in planning this.”
As a member of the Army National Guard who served in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009, Ruesch had a lot of insight into the war. He also has bright plans for his future as a history teacher for secondary schools.
“Part of the reason I want to be a teacher is so I can teach younger kids to appreciate their soldiers and the importance of voting. I feel like Americans, in general, don’t appreciate soldiers as much as they should,” Ruesch said. “The biggest thing is not to shake my hand but to be informed on what is going on over there.”
A situation similar to this impacted the life of Patrick Seybert, treasurer of the Veteran’s Club and an Army veteran who was stationed in Scofield Barricks, Hawaii, for five years.
“It was the chancellor’s inauguration and the chancellor actually spoke about me during his speech. There was a guy there who came up to me and told me how when he was younger, his dad had talked constantly about wanting the same freedoms as the U.S. When the American military came, got rid of the corrupt government and developed a new government, the father was finally able to experience the freedoms he always wanted,” Seybert said. “That man undoubtedly appreciates freedom and what the military did for him.”
Throughout the discussion, the subject of family was brought up the most. The feeling of camaraderie one soldier has for another was described as a feeling rarely experienced elsewhere.
“Regardless of whether you’ve served with them or not, being in the military gives you a connection. I can have an instant conversation with any military man I’ve ever met or known,” said Veteran’s Club Advisor Rob Clint.