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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | SEPTEMBER 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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To all the UI student-veterans

After 30 years of working with women and men veterans of military service who attended University of Iowa on the GI Bill, I retired in June 2010. I am enjoying retirement completely but find again this year, like last September, that I sort of miss my veterans.

I suspect, and frankly hope, that this happens every year. The 9/11 event itself is an insult to me, but your response to it is an inspiration. This is not a patriotic feeling, rather, it is a feeling of respect toward you who endured much pain, anguish, and inconvenience because of your duty since 9/11.

You say you fought for my freedoms but, I am more inspired by how you often came to me. When I met you for the first time and all I could see was feelings of loss or not-belonging, I noticed you did not give up on yourself — and you got better, sometimes with less help than you deserved to have.

I am inspired by how you also helped each other and am glad you chose my college to further your education because your choice allowed me to see courageous folks fight the personal battles that come with re-entry to civilian life and win survive. I still cannot decide which battle was the greater struggle, the one you faced in uniform or the one you faced back here at home.

During those times when your GI Bill seemed like a bad rash that wouldn’t respond to my “treatments,” I thank you for not taking it out on me and for remembering to focus on college and let me do the yelling and screaming for you. It was an honor to fight those silly gooses in that monstrous government agency until your money showed up like it was supposed to.

I said a prayer for you Sunday, and then, like you, I’ve walked past that date and look with you to the future. I miss you more than you miss me, and that’s as it should be.

Be safe and know that we need more like you.

Skip Kempnich
Iowa City resident


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