Every November 11 since 1945 has been set aside to honor those who bravely served in the military for our country. Veteran’s day is sometimes overlooked as just a day off of school, but it is really a day to honor the efforts by all those who protect us everyday. Many Leesville Road students know the importance of Veteran’s Day, especially Matthew Oertel.
Oertel knows the struggles military families go through considering his dad served for 28 years. Growing up, his family was constantly moving to different military bases. They started off living in Oklahoma, then moved to Ohio, then relocated to Okinawa, Japan, and finally settled in North Carolina.
Pete Oertel, Matthew’s father, served in the air force as a Lieutenant Colonel, which takes 16 to 22 years to achieve. The ranking of Lieutenant Colonel is seventh highest in the air force. He was the pilot of a KC-135.
This year was the first year that Oertel could celebrate Veteran’s Day as a true veteran. After 28 years, Pete Oertel finally retired from the air force.
So what did the Oertels do on their first Veteran’s day? They took full advantage of the veteran’s discounts, of course! “To celebrate, we went out and got a free lunch and then a free carwash,” said Matt Oertel.
Besides all of the freebies and deals given out, Oertel knows the main reason why Veteran’s Day is a reason to celebrate.
“It means dedicating time to celebrating the service that people like my dad did, and honoring everyone who served to protect the citizens of our country,” said Oertel.
Next time you see a veteran, make sure to thank them for their service; veterans deserved to be honored everyday, not just one day out of the year.