Remembering our heroes

Smitha Gundavajhala

With the onset of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, we may briefly reflect upon the sacrifices and legacies of those who fought to keep Cupertino safe. But beyond that, sadly, we only have a hazy picture of what they truly mean to Cupertino.

We do not learn about them in textbooks, nor are their stories touted as legend. But they are part of a past that is uniquely ours. Yet this past is largely ignored by newer residents. Most see Cupertino for its future rather than accepting it with its traditions. We can only fix this by educating ourselves about our past.

On Veterans Day, we will have a ceremony in which the Vietnam Wall will be brought to this monument at Memorial Park. That will be our chance to recognize and give tribute to heroes of past wars. Photo by Smitha Gundavajhala.

 

The race to forget

In recent years, there has been an increasing divide between those that remember the past and those that look to the future. The future seems to characterize Cupertino, along with the rest of the Silicon Valley. Especially with Apple nearby, it is difficult to pause and reflect without being swept away in the race of modernization. In this frenzy, we are leaving something valuable behind: our history.

It is a shame that we are ignoring Cupertino’s history when there is so much to learn from it. In contrast, today’s competition, along with economic troubles and other woes, has fostered disconnect between citizens.

What veterans mean to us

For all our communicative tools, we don’t stop to talk to our neighbors anymore. Though we are more connected than ever, we are detached from our immediate surroundings. We do not use these tools to educate ourselves on our immediate surroundings. In fact, many of us are are oblivious to the presence of the very people that fought to protect us: our veterans.

We are taught about the sacrifices of our veterans. The word “veterans,” however, means little to us beyond heroic images of men and women in uniform. That is no reason for us to forget them. Beyond the occasional ceremony, we rarely see our veterans for who they are: heroes. We hardly even know their names.

Coming together

Veterans Day is a day to think about the veterans of Cupertino and what they have done to keep this community safe. This Friday, a piece of the Vietnam Wall is being brought to our own monument at Memorial Park. Join the others in celebrating those who dedicated their lives to America. Make the effort to go to Memorial Park’s ceremony and support the veterans that we have not previously recognized.

Hopefully, we can begin to connect to each other. The arrival of the wall will bring a chance for us to shed our ignorance and become a community  respectful of its veterans. Let us bring back the unity that held us together during our hardships, from the panic of Sept. 11 to the dangerous gunman loose in Cupertino. That bond that we shared should be part of our daily lives. As long as we remember the sacrifices our veterans made for us, that goal is not beyond our reach.