‘It’s an honor, nothing more’ Fairbanks vets discuss Veteran’s Day

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 4:42 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - November 11 is a day America has set aside to honor those who have served their country in the military. Traditionally there are ceremonies and other events to show appreciation for those who signed the dotted line and were willing to give all. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt traditions around the world, we decided to go to veterans around Fairbanks and ask them why Veterans Day is important, and what it means to be a veteran.

“It’s more than a holiday, it’s an effort that we can provide support and show our gratitude to all those veterans that have served in the military from time beginning,” said David Dean, a veteran of the Vietnam War.

“I get to think of all my other friends that served and did great things for this country, and you know, they are my brothers and sisters that did this. We get to think of the good times that we had during the time of service, you know, the spur rides in Germany when we go to go watch some captain get dared to snort smarties, I mean just goofy stuff," said Nick Adkins, a veteran of the Global War on Terror.

No veteran is left out Dean said. “If you are a veteran, you are a veteran and you are honored today.”

As veterans, they agreed to serve wherever their country needed them, but what does that mean to them?

“A veteran is really just someone who raised their hand and said, ‘I will do it, I will go serve, I will sacrifice, I will fight, I’ll do what needs to be done to help protect this,'” said Nathen Brisbois, a Global War on Terror veteran.

“These are people who signed a blank check to the people of the United States of America for any amount up to and including the cost of their life. That’s the ultimate service you can give,” said Douglas Harvey, a veteran of Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror.

The veterans said that their fellow veterans made a difference. “Without the sacrifices of the military we likely would not have all the privileges and freedoms that we have," Dean said.

Often veterans continue to pay the price after they serve, struggling to fit in. Veterans often deal with substance abuse, depression and suicide.

“For the vet, know that you are not alone there are a lot of folks out there struggling. Get involved. Getting involved is, I think, the number one most beneficial thing that you can do,” said Brisbois

The veterans say that everyone can help in some way.

“There are multiple organizations out there that can help. You can donate money, you can call a friend, literally just pick up the phone and call a friend, and call one of those veterans and check on them, make sure they are okay,” Adkins said.

“Talk to them and listen, and actually really listen. Don’t try and solve the problems, just listen,” Brisbois said.

It isn’t just veterans who need the encouragement Dean said, “If you see a service person in uniform, thank them for their service and pick up the tab if they are at a restaurant or something."

Brisbois said that even people who don’t think they know any vets probably do, “The highest veteran population per capita anywhere in America is in Alaska, and so when I hear folks say, ‘you know, I don’t know anybody that’s a vet,' you actually probably do, whether it’s acknowledged or not, whether it’s ever come up in conversation. There are so many veterans around here.”

To the other veterans, they say thank you.

“I would like to tell you all thank you, and for those of you that are currently serving, you know, thanks for carrying it forward. We live in a great country and the reason we have a great country is people who served," Harvey said.

The veterans were happy to have served as they remember this special day.

“It’s an honor, nothing more, it was an honor to serve," Dean said with a tear in his eye.

For all the veterans out there, we thank you for your service.

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