Alexis Hart, English professor and Navy veteran, said that Veterans Day is a time of reflection for both those who have served our country and for others to show their respect for U.S. veterans.
Hart graduated from the University of Rochester in 1993 where she was in the Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
“I got my commission in May of 1993 and I went into the supply corps which is kind of like the business managers of the Navy,” said Hart. “I went to Athens, Georgia which is where the Navy Supply Corps school used to be. So that’s where I did my initial training for the Navy. ”
While Hart was training in Athens, Congress overturned the law that said women were not allowed to serve on combatant ships in the military.
“When I graduated from the Supply Corps School, I was the first woman assigned to a combatant amphibious ship, which is a ship that carries Marines to fight overseas,” said Hart.
In Hart’s three years on the ship she said she had opportunities she otherwise would not have had the chance to experience.
“I always say I joined the Navy and saw the world,” said Hart. “I went on two full Western Pacific deployments into the Arabian Gulf so I got to see a lot of the world I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.”
Hart said after her two additional years of shore duty, she resigned her commission and decided to get into academics full time. Her time while in the military continually influences the material and the way she teaches her classes now at Allegheny.
To Hart, Veterans Day is an opportunity to honor those that have or are serving the country.
“Since there is no longer a draft we are in an all volunteer force and so many fewer citizens are affected by the very real nature of being a country at war,” said Hart. “For me ideally I would envision [Veterans Day] as a time to stop and reflect on the service that military men and women have provided even if we don’t agree with all of the reasons that our government has sent our troops to war. This service, much like other kinds of service, is really meaningful in a way that I would like us to respect.”
Patrick McNulty, ’16, served a total of five years in the military before coming to Allegheny to continue his education.
“[After high school] I tried a semester in college at Morrisville State, didn’t like it, so I said I’ll go to BUD/S to try and become a Navy Seal and that was the premise of my military career, the beginning,” said McNulty.
McNulty was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for four years where he served with Marine Special Operations Command.
“[Marine Special Operations Command] specializes in counterterrorism warfare, and that’s about as in depth as I can go with what I did,” said McNulty.
McNulty said that in past years he has attended memorial services for those that have fallen while serving the country but this year he said it will be a different story now that he is back in school.
“I will be at football practice so nothing too exciting and I don’t really know of much going on for Veterans Day around here,” said McNulty.
Sarah Basden, ’19, currently participates in the ROTC program at Edinboro University while taking classes at Allegheny. Basden decided to join the program because she had always had dreams of joining the military but did not necessarily want to go to an academy or military specific school.
“I grew up around everything military and ever since I was young I thought it would be a really cool thing to do,” Basden said. “Once I hit my sophomore, junior year of high school I found out that I could actually do some type of military through a normal college instead of going to an academy so I decided to do ROTC while still getting the real college experience.”
Basden, whose father is in the military, said that Veterans Day is a day her family holds close to them.
“Because my dad is in the military it’s always been a pretty big thing, it’s not something that we necessarily celebrate in our house, but we definitely acknowledge it because my dad is still serving and he has been deployed so he is a veteran,” Basden said. “We always try and do something for that day and make sure we thank all of our friends who are also in the military.”
This year Veterans Day is on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Basden, McNulty and Hart said they hope Allegheny students take time to appreciate veterans in their lives and on campus and to show their appreciation for the sacrifices veterans have made.