The Sunflower

Letter to the Editor — Recognize veterans for the impact they made to WSU

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I used to listen to stories my grandfather told about life on a ship. He served on the USS A.T. Harris as a gunner’s mate.

His handshake was something people knew him by. He talked about the people, the jobs, the pain, and the love. The man loaded howitzer cannons almost daily, and he still made it a point 40 years later to tell his grandson about the love that he found in his service.

My grandfather died while I was deployed with the US Army.

Last week, I got to shake his hand again when I met Ray Avila. At least that’s what went through my mind when the World War II Prisoner of War shook my hand on Nov. 8, the day the university rededicated Grace Wilkie Hall.

Presentations by Carolyn Shaw, Tony Vizzini, Teri Hall, and President John Bardo outlined the service and sacrifice of both Grace Wilkie and Ray Avila.

They correlated them and showed how each sacrificed for those they loved. German forces captured Ray during the Battle of the Bulge. Grace changed campus to focus on the needs of students and how to help women in that time frame be successful in college life.

They didn’t do these things as a job; they threw themselves into service because they had passion to serve those that were less able, or discriminated against. Students on campus, and the job of student affairs, owe a lot to Grace Wilkie, She helped form the mentality of helping people succeed.

We all owe everything to the men like Ray that fought and won one of the greatest conflicts of this earth. That being said, it is probably good that we had a page and a half in the Nov. 16 issue full of pictures of the Foo Fighters and a picture of everyone sitting down at a meeting.

If you want to see some real photos, there’s a display up in Grace Wilkie Hall room 105 about the service and sacrifice of Ray Avila.

If you want to write about something of substance, talk to anyone that was at that rededication ceremony about Grace Wilkie and the impact she made in this country and at this university. Maybe then we can stop complaining about parking every issue and realize there are people in this university that are sacrificing for the betterment of students.

Jared Smith
President
Student Veterans Organization

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