Opinion: The Importance of Veteran’s Day


Melanie Bisbach photo

Dear Editor,

I wish to share my experiences of Veteran’s Day as a military kid who lived his early childhood on a military base.

My dad served as a Combat Engineer in the Army Corps of Engineers for 33 years. Both my older sister and I were born on military bases. We lived on military bases until 2008, when my dad was assigned to work in Madison.

I want to specify what I am talking about when I talk about Veteran’s Day. There are three federal holidays that focus on military service: Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, recognizes those who have previously served; Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May, recognizes those who currently serve; Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, recognizes servicemen who have fallen in the line of duty.

I think that, as a community, we do well in expressing what Veteran’s Day means. Gestures like giving discounts when shopping, having a federal holiday that may give a day off from work, having statues in City Park in Platteville dedicated to servicemen and having a new flagpole memorial near Ullsvik Hall are nice.

The National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics projected the veteran population to be over 19 million in September 2021. Of these, over 9 million veterans are enrolled in the VA Health Care System. As NCVAS reported in 2017, 6.4% of male veterans and 9.4% of female veterans face poverty.

These numbers are good but can always be better. This is part of what Veteran’s Day is to me: an opportunity to support those who have served.

I believe one of the most accessible ways to advocate for veteran care is to vote for government leaders who support programs that support veterans and who endorse programs and organizations that assist veterans, and unhoused, hungry or unemployed individuals.

Thank you,

John Rodwell