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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Thanking Our Veterans

Thursday, December 8 2016

Air Force cadet holding the American Flag

Lt.  Col. Benjamin Dahlke presented “The Next Greatest Generation” at the 2016 Center for Veterinary Health Sciences’ Veterans Day observance. Dahlke is the Commander of Air Force ROTC Detachment 670 at OSU, a professor and head of the Department of Aerospace Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Veterans Day is our day to thank and remember all veterans and to let them know we appreciate them for their service and honor them for their sacrifices,” he said.

“An inscription at the Korean War Veterans Memorial says ‘our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.’ They answered the call. These words apply equally to many others, to today’s service members who are tomorrow’s veterans.”

As an ROTC Commander who interacts with college students daily, Dahlke offered his unique perspective on tomorrow’s veterans.

“The term ‘the Greatest Generation’ is used for those who lived through the depression and fought and won World War II and it’s the perfect name. Now we have generations X, Y and Z and as this generation alphabet has reached its end, many maintain that the sense of entitlement, apathy and narcissism has risen exponentially with each letter, but let me present a different view,” Dahlke says.

Dahlke noted that of the five million Americans that have worn the uniform of our armed forces in the last decade, more than three million stepped forward as an all-volunteer force after the attacks of 9/11.

“Their service has been selfless…and their accomplishments have been extraordinary.

“This generation of active guard and reserve service members, this 9/11 generation, or better known as the often ridiculed millennials, have maintained our security during a hard and certainly divisive time in our nation’s history. These men and woman have disproved the myth of apathy in their generation. They chose to serve a cause greater than themselves, they answered a call.”

Over the next five years, more than a million Americans in uniform will transition back to civilian life to embrace a new role, the role of veteran.

“Certainly they’ve earned their place among the greatest of generations,” Dahlke offered.

“If there is anything that our veterans have taught us, it is that there is no threat we cannot meet and there is no challenge we cannot overcome. And for that inspiration, for all the sacrifices, and those of veterans families that have helped keep our country safe and free, we thank each and every veteran, not just today, but every day, for every day. God bless each of you and God Bless America.”