A Note from Dean Welsh
Happy Veterans Day!
At its core, today is about service. All of you are remarkable examples of that! Many of you wore our nation’s cloth, and this day specifically celebrates you. I hope the rest of you will forgive me as I direct the remainder of this note to the veterans who are part of the Bush School family.
For forty years, Betty and I served side-by-side. While she never wore a uniform, she suffered the same frustrations, the same burdens, the same sacrifice, the same separation, the same fears as I did, and a few others I never had to worry about. I know she is as proud of our service as I am, and I know that your spouses feel exactly the same way. We celebrate them today as well.
My grandfather served in the United States Army in WWI. After the war, while serving as the State Treasurer of Massachusetts, he gave a speech on 11 November 1920 that included this line:
“The day is not far distant when November 11 shall be a universal holiday throughout the width and breadth of our great land. It should be one of the greatest of all American holidays. I look forward to that day.”
His voice joined with many, many others… and here we are.
I think I know how much Veterans Day must have meant to him. But I’m not real sure what most people today think about Veterans Day—so to find ground truth, I googled it. The first entry that came up said, “35+ Freebies and discounts for Veterans Day,” accompanied by a picture of a tray of doughnuts—my kind of celebration! The second entry said, “Free makeovers for veterans,” something I should probably consider! The third entry was a picture of a memorial service in one of our national cemeteries, captioned “honoring our nation’s fallen on Veterans Day.”
While I believe we should ALWAYS honor those who fell in service to our nation … that’s not what today is all about. Veterans Day is not a solemn remembrance of tragic loss; it’s a celebration of proud service! It honors all Americans who raised their right hand and said, “Send me.” It’s about their pride, their commitment, their loyalty, their courage, their dedication, their love of country, and their love for each other. Today is about YOU! I’m not at all embarrassed to say that I love you and that it was the honor of my life to stand beside you.
Happy Veterans Day,
President George H.W. Bush: Veterans Day – 1991
Students and Alumni Veteran Stories
We asked our current students and alumni veterans and active duty, “Why did you choose to serve?”
Betty Stanton ’15, Navy
“My commitment to serve comes from a deep feeling that pulls at my heart. I joined the Navy to escape poverty, violence, and hunger. I believed that if I surrounded myself with positivity, growth, and opportunity, I could overcome any situation. I was determined to be successful and I had the drive and work ethic to be successful. I reenlisted in the Navy because I continued to grow and experience wonderful opportunities.
I admired 41 when I served in the Navy during Operation Desert Storm. During a speech he delivered at the Pentagon at the onset of Operation Desert Shield (Aug 1990), he said, “I am relying on you to shape the forces of the future.” During that speech, I realized that I was not the victim anymore. I was part of the solution. I never forgot his words that day, so when I had the opportunity to go to the Bush School, I knew it was where I belonged.”
Naomi McGonagill ’21, Army
“I chose to serve because my parents instilled values of service to our country at a young age. I was taught to give back to my community in some capacity, and for me that was through the military as a logistician.”
Matthew Weston ’15, Marine Corps
“The opportunity to learn and practice leadership in the military is unparalleled. A premium is placed on the ability to influence others in service of a greater good. In addition, the opportunity for travel and adventure was certainly a driving factor, and the Marine Corps did not disappoint. It’s a patchwork of outstanding Americans from all backgrounds coming together to serve something greater than themselves—a concept the Bush School is no stranger to.”
John Anderson ’22, Army
“My father was a career Army officer—served in the Philippines in WWII and in Korea during that war. A very strong man and a strong personality, he once said he never regretted a single thing he did in his life, but if he could change one thing, it would be to have attended Texas A&M.
It never occurred to me not to serve. My father’s parents came to the US from Armenia during WWI after fighting the Turks during the Armenian Holocaust and seeing the Russians taking over the rest of the country. My family loves and appreciates this country and the freedom and opportunities it provides. I wanted to fly, and the Army wanted me to fly.”
Major Brandon Maguire ’19, Army
“I have wanted to be in the military since I was in middle school. My grandfathers were both in the U.S. Navy, I had uncles that served, and my older brother enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school. I have been drawn to the U.S. military ever since I was young. Initially, I wanted the education benefits, the opportunities to travel, and the leadership exposure. After 9/11, my desire to serve became more of a passion to help protect our way of life and be a part of something bigger than myself. I continue to serve because of the people I serve
with; they inspire me every day.”
Rebecca Sinclair ’15, Army
“I enlisted right after 9/11. I had always felt the call to serve something greater than myself and this was the perfect opportunity to serve.”