We should always honor America

“‘Duty, Honor, Country’ — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”

These words said by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1962 while accepting the Thayer Award at the United States Military Academy still hold so much significance today. “Duty, Honor, Country” has been the uncompromising motto of the USMA at West Point since 1898.

Both my mom and dad are Army veterans. And my wife, Jenny, was adopted by an Army veteran and his wife in Germany, so I have a real appreciation for all that our veterans and their families sacrifice in their service to our nation.

So, why write a column on veterans when we aren’t celebrating a national holiday? Because we should never wait for a national holiday to show our appreciation to the men and women who have served or currently serve our country.

The University of Tennessee averages approximately 1,140 veterans, service members, dependents and reservists who serve as students on our campuses across the state. And, our efforts around educating military-affiliated students are getting noticed on a national level.

UT Knoxville was recently named a 2021-22 Military Friendly Gold School. The Gold award is the highest designation awarded by Military Friendly, a company that measures commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful opportunities for the military community.

Our other campuses across the state are also going above and beyond to serve those who have selflessly served (and continue to serve) our country. UT Chattanooga has a variety of veteran-support programs, from peer mentoring, to the “Boots for Suits” career clothing program, to specialized counseling services, and even an innovation and entrepreneurial learning series to build and bolster critical business skill sets. The UT Health Science Center in Memphis also aids in transitioning soldiers to students as the first institution in the UT System to have been designated as a “VETS Campus” in 2015, a designation that helps men and women who have served in the military to achieve their post-military educational goals. At UT Martin, the Skyhawk Veteran’s Association also connects service members with other student veterans who can share their collegiate experience and understand their transition. UT Martin, a VETS Campus and 2020-21 Military Friendly school, also links student veterans with the Office of Career Planning and Development, which provides career counseling, resume workshops, mock interviews and assistance with job and internship placements.

Forty-two veterans and active-duty military are currently enrolled in UT Martin Online.

“Thank you” will never be enough for our veterans and current military service members.

We are committed to helping ensure our UT campuses are among the best places in the country for veterans, or those who aspire to begin a life of military service, to acquire or enhance the skills that will make a lasting impact on our communities, our state and our world.