Veterans Day is Wednesday, Oct. 11.
For those who have not served in the military, it may seem like most expressions of gratitude to armed forces members are insufficient.
While a “thank you” may seem inadequate, it may be exactly what an armed forces person needs to hear.
And you don’t have to look very far at BJU to find a military service member to thank.
One such individual is Matt Koser, a senior graphic design major and a senior airman who works in Explosive Ordinance Disposal.
Koser has served for three years, but his familiarity with the military has been a lifelong experience: his father served in the military for almost 28 years.
Koser says Veterans Day has always been special to him and his family, but being in the Air Force has given the day even more importance.
“For the past three years [Veterans Day] has become even more meaningful to me as an Air Force member,” Koser said. “I’m honored to be counted among others who serve, and I’m humbled to be recognized with them.”
Marlin [Marly] Houtz is a junior business administration major and a private first class in the National Guard.
Having recently experienced the power of the military and its ability to bring a struggling community together, Houtz will have a renewed appreciation for Veterans Day this year.
Up to this point in his military career, Houtz’ service had mainly included the standard monthly drill routines, but the catastrophic flooding in Columbia at the beginning of October required Houtz to be on the front lines of a devastating situation.
Houtz and his fellow Guard members were in the state capital for nearly a week, while they assisted law enforcement in whatever work needed to be done: blocking bridges, evacuating apartment complexes and clearing flooded buildings.
But it wasn’t just the armed forces and law enforcement who were assisting those in turmoil.
“The coolest part of the whole experience was seeing how the whole community came together to help those in need,” Houtz said.
Caleb Armstrong is a junior exercise science major, and he’s been in the Marines for three years where he currently serves as a lance corporal and works as a landing support specialist.
It was veterans who motivated Armstrong to join the military in the first place.
Armstrong looked up to a group of older men in his church who had each served in one of the various military branches—but none of them had served in the Marine Corps.
“I saw that as a challenge,” Armstrong said.
Another motivator was the discipline taught by the Marines.
Armstrong thought the Marines would be a good preparation for life after high school and a good maturing experience.
Armstrong has learned many things, such as the importance of maintaining a constant Christian testimony.
“You must always keep your testimony, even when you think no one is watching.”
Armstrong has also learned the value of humility, a quality he said causes you to realize that you’re no better than the Marine serving next to you. This type of humble thinking can have powerful results.
“No matter who it is, I know that they have my back and I have theirs. You learn to give of yourself to others without hesitation,” Armstrong said.