McMinnville campus fails to honor Veterans Day

Aspen Brooks, For the Review

Linfield’s McMinnville campus doesn’t have any programs to honor veterans on Veterans Day. Classes aren’t canceled; there is no special service held, and the only indication that it is a national holiday is a small sign in Starbucks that announces free coffee for veterans (placed there by the corporation, not the college).

Veterans Day honors veterans of all wars.

So why isn’t Linfield’s main campus participating?

Susan Hopp, vice president of student affairs and athletics, is unsure, but said, “We do not have many veterans studying in our residential program.”

To be fair, the campus did have a band concert honoring vets in 2013 and posted a picture on Instagram this morning.

Hopp added that classes are likely not canceled in order to meet the required number of class days each semester.

Linfield’s Portland campus has more veterans enrolled, and is celebrating Veterans Day with programming including writing cards to a local veteran’s hospital and making neck pillows for veterans.

Lisa Burch, assistant dean of students and director of student life said on the Portland campus, the “Loveridge Hall Lobby [is] decorated with the flags of all the branches of service.”

Oregon has an estimated 331,632 veteran residents, according to the Oregon state government website. Yamhill County alone counts 9,841.

Although Veterans Day began in 1919 as Armistice Day to celebrate the end of World War I, this isn’t a distant issue. Those who served the country deserve respect and recognition even if few attend Linfield.

Although none of the other private schools in the Northwest Conference cancel classes for Veterans Day, Linfield should not use that as an excuse not to honor veterans.

None of the other schools in the Northwest Conference has a 60-year winning streak in football either.

Linfield shouldn’t settle for blending in with its peers when it has the opportunity to lead.

Options for how to recognize veterans abound. Pacific Lutheran University, for example, holds special worship services, while many public schools, like Oregon State University, cancel classes for the day.

That said, this is not a lazy student’s plea for a day of canceled classes. Admittedly, every college student appreciates days off, but the importance of honoring veterans goes far beyond that.

Tristan Dahl, ’17, suggests that Linfield invite veterans to campus to be recognized, and share their experiences with students.

“I think that the day should be spent honoring and learning about veterans past and present,” she says, “these people have done so much, and they deserve to be acknowledged.”

Linfield could also organize community service opportunities for students to work for veterans or alongside them, as demonstrated by the Portland campus.

“It is easy to develop ideas, plan programs, and honor the day in a way in which students wish,” Hopp said. “ASLC, the chaplain and director of college activities, plus students in leadership positions in residence life might all have ideas.”

Our campus lacks a tradition of honoring veterans, but that doesn’t mean that it is too late to start one.

Let’s make a change, and give our veterans the recognition they deserve.