Updated: Feb 3, 2019
What a better way to spend Veteran’s Day than listening to a Veteran talking about his experiences and opportunities that lie for young Veterans? On Thursday, November 8th, 2018, Veteran Mackson came to Passaic County Community College to talk about his experience in the military and how he came to be in it.
Mackson addressed the common misconception that most people have when wanting to join the military. “The military is not all about war or combat,” Mackson said.
Mackson was not a good student and often got into trouble. Once he was given the chance to join the military, life took a turn. Mackson addressed the common misconception that most people have when wanting to join the military, “The military is all about war or combat.”
In fact, there are many tasks that are available for many people of different professions. There is for instance, engineers that work the machines and computer scientists that work technology that go onto the field.
Although, Mackson enjoyed his time in the military, he often thought about leaving the army. In the end, he stuck it out and continued to push through to support his family.
He had a lot of thoughts on what he wanted to do in his life and many paths to go down. In the end, he became a teacher through the experience that he gained while being in the military.
Mackson discussed the Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program that he built at PCCC. He has been able to do a lot with the amount of resources that were available to him.
After sharing his experiences, he spent a small time addressing some issues facing veterans. One important issue that he brought up was the importance to recognize veterans.
Many fellow veterans feel the phrase “Thank you for your service” doesn’t mean anything anymore. However, Mackson feels differently. He still values when someone thanks him for his service due to the many sacrifices soldiers make.
Mackson also discussed veterans’ struggle with PTSD, feeling there should be help for those who suffer from the illness and that veterans should have better access to healthcare. He stressed that the suicide rate among veterans is higher than the civilian rate.
Another issue that he found important was the homelessness among veterans because they were not given what they were promised.
He ended his speech by restating that there are many opportunities in the military for everyone and he encourages anyone to look into it.
After the event, some students remarked feeling inspired by his speech. One student emphasized that his story reminded him there are second chances in life.