As picture after picture of war flash across the screen, depicting young men and women close in age to the average Belmont student, Bob Ravener describes the typical American soldier, a hero, a human.
On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, Belmont hosted Ravener, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and retired naval officer, who came to speak on the history and meaning of Veterans Day.
“This day hold special meaning to all veterans,” Ravener said after describing the history behind the holiday.
Veterans Day, previously known as Armistice Day, began as a celebration of the end of World War I. It became a national holiday in 1938 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the name was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.
After describing the history, Ravener changed directions, humanizing the idea of Veterans Day by telling stories of veterans– some who were related to him, some who were not, some who lived and some who did not.
“Millions have answered the call to protect our country’s freedom,” Ravener said. “Remember them always, for they have earned our respect with their blood and sacrifice.”
To add a personal element, Ravener described his own experience in the military.
“The military helped me get a start in life like it did for many other Americans,” Ravener said. “Our country needed us.”
Today, Ravener is retired from the military, though his service to its members continues. He currently works in the corporate world, training companies and schools on recruiting veterans into their programs.
“The two biggest things in life are education and jobs,” Ravener said.
For Ravener, the military is near and dear to his heart and his service to them is something he is not reluctant about. He encourages others to support the troops and their families, as he does on a daily basis, because they, ultimately, are paying the ultimate price to protect our great country.
“You’ve heard it said that all have given some, and some have given all,” Ravener said. “Many have paid the ultimate price for freedom.”
Article and photo by Kelby Bibler.