Veteran’s Day is a national holiday set to honor veterans across the United States. This year, USD is making the celebration a full week with their first-ever Patriot Week.
The week-long celebration is being put on by USD’s ROTC unit and the Veteran’s Resource Center.
Patriot Week began on Monday with a virtual 5k run and will conclude on Friday with a showing of the movie “Windtalkers.” Other events include the Hall of Heroes in the MUC and a chalking event with information on veterans’ PTSD and suicide awareness.
One of the larger events will take place on Wednesday with the Patriots Plaza Dedication at 1 pm. Dan Sundberg, professor of military science, said the Patriots Plaza is where they got the name for Patriot Week.
However, he said many other universities have week-long celebrations for Veteran’s Day so they got inspiration for the week from those universities.
“This is our first year to do this so I’m not expecting too much,” Sundberg said “A lot of universities do veterans week. With anything you start, you can wait to make it perfect, but if you do that, it’ll never happen. You just have to start it. And we’re starting it.”
Sundberg said they chose different aspects of veterans and active army members’ lives for all the events. The events range from the physical aspect of army life with the 5k to harder topics like PTSD and suicide among veterans.
The virtual 5k was extended throughout the week, Sundberg said, due to the unpredictability of the weather in November. To complete the virtual 5k, they used the website Active.com. Here, participants can register for the race, and then they choose their own route. Once a runner completes the 5k, they track their route and time on the website and it will compare all runners who participated in that race.
“It’s a way to do a 5k during COVID,” Sundberg said. “You’re able to go to that website and check your time and you still get that communal experience just by running it and then going online to see where you stacked up.”
Sundberg said he hopes Patriot Week continues to grow in years to follow and acts as a way to honor veterans and show the long history of ROTC on campus. He said he also hopes other students are inspired.
“I really hope that the veterans here feel like they have a home here and that they really belong,” Sundberg said. “(I hope they feel like) this is a place where they can succeed, and that they’re valued.”