Opinion: Boise State failed to recognize veterans on Veteran’s Day

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Topher Dayton is a student veteran and president of the Boise State Student Veterans of America.

I am a veteran and a senior here at Boise State University. I am very proud to be a veteran and I was, until recently, proud to be a Boise State Bronco. This past Veteran’s Day, as I was walking around campus, I saw no indication that it was a national holiday. Instead of a holiday dedicated to the men and women who have and are serving in our country’s military, it seemed to me that it was just another day.

In years past, Boise State Veteran Services did a magnificent job honoring student veterans. However, they recently lost multiple employees, thereby increasing the workload for the ones still there. This year, they had no time to plan a Veteran’s Day event. In my opinion, though, it should not be up to them. 

Veterans should not be left to plan an event that honors themselves. Would someone plan their own birthday party? Do we leave it up to a bride to plan her own bachelorette party? Boise State administrators were fully aware of the increased workload for the hard-working people in Veteran Services, but they were unable to step up to the plate. 

I feel very sad and disappointed that Boise State did nothing to remind students, faculty and staff that this past Monday was a day to remember current and past veterans who have sacrificed so much for everyone on campus, our community and the nation.

I served six years with the Idaho Air National Guard here in Boise. I also served a six-and-a-half-month tour in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. I deployed with nearly everyone in my squadron so naturally we all waved the Blue and Orange flag of Boise State University while we were there. We even went so far as to get a Boise State flag flown on a combat mission. We then signed it, included a picture of us with it and donated it to the university. That flag is displayed in the Veteran Services Center. I now have mixed feelings of my signature on that flag and of the picture of me holding it. 

Even in a hostile environment far, far away, we proudly displayed the flag of our local university, but here at home, the same thing is not reciprocated.

There seems to be a disconnect between those who understand the sacrifices of serving in the military and those who do not. Nearly every Bronco Veteran joined the military after Sept. 11, 2001. We joined fully aware that we would most likely get deployed to a very dangerous place. But, since there have been enough volunteers, no draft has occurred since 1972. No matter how someone feels about war, it should give them peace knowing there is no such thing as a draft anymore. 

That peace is provided solely because a small percentage of the population decided and continues to decide to take on that burden. There are many student veterans at Boise State who struggle with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and addiction. The truth is that any average person would struggle with the same things if they experienced war.

For those that did remember Veteran’s Day and reflected on what it means, I thank you. For those students and teachers that told me to have a happy Veteran’s Day and thanked me for my service, I deeply appreciate it. I am not angry, though it may seem like I am. I am simply disappointed in my university. All the students, faculty and staff should be disappointed as well. 

There are more than 1,200 student veterans at Boise State and, while I cannot speak for everyone, I think we all would have appreciated getting at least some semblance of recognition from Boise State, our school, the school that so many of us support and the school that should have our back.

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