By Madison Weber ’23, Staff Writer
Veterans are an integral part of our country and St. John Fisher College alike. With over 40 student veterans, veteran faculty members, and an entire branch of service at the college whose goal is to advocate for veterans. Fisher pharmacy student, Alexa Wade, joined the United States National Guard as a medical logistic specialist directly after graduating high school in 2008 and was active for six years. One of these years included a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan. “Going through something like that gives you a bond that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s unlike any other friendship,” Wade said. After a deployment, being away from family, and living through different time zones, Wade is motivated when she doesn’t feel like finishing that assignment or staying up late to study.
Wade herself enjoyed a free meal on Veteran’s Day, but urges people to remember the difference between Veteran’s Day (for those who served in the past), Memorial Day (those who have passed)and Armed Forces Day (those who are actively serving).
Philosophy Professor, Dr. Robert Rhuel, served in the First Battalion of the 22nd infantry in Fort Drum, NY. As Rhuel left high school, he had an interest in creating change and supporting world peace. So he decided to enlist with the goal of attending a peacekeeping mission, which he went on to do in Haiti in 1994. After seeing the desolate conditions Haitians were living in, it inspired him to ponder and become a philosophy and ethics professor. As a professor, he is able to see the benefits that all Fisher students experience from having veterans in classes. “Students will often bring in their veteran experience and I’ve never seen a negative reaction to it. It’s relevant and real.” A Fisher veteran alum himself, he remembers feeling like a non traditional student, but always welcomed and appreciated in the campus community. Veterans on our campus allow multiple perspectives in all aspects of the student body, which Rhuel says is one of the most important things in a well-rounded, Fisher education.
Rhuel spent his veterans day doing exactly what he would do on any other day, but better, “continue to do the things that you do normally, but do them with care and concern and make the world better”. As a veteran himself, he finds it a day to reflect on patriotism and to question “what it means to be a citizen of the U.S.”. Through his own journeys with other veterans, wars, conflicts, missions, and where we are now as a nation he reflected on ways to find and live in peace.
Although Veterans’ Day 2020 has passed, as Rhuel mentioned, continue with your daily tasks but do it with a greater sense of self. Remember those who have enlisted for you to be able to live in the manner and with the freedoms that you now enjoy. Both in our Fisher student body, and in the nation as a whole.