Dr Sanders and Veterans Day


“A lot of us only experience war from what people tell us and what is in the movies. The movies are usually glorified. So I went to war expecting somewhere in between a glorified example from a movie and what my dad had told me from World War II. I just didn’t have any understanding of what it was really going to be like. It did not take long to realize that you are out there 24 hours a day and your main job is to kill people and their main job is to kill you. The only solution I had from seeing human beings being seriously injured or killed right beside me was that I had to not feel anymore. I hardened my heart. I couldn’t get very angry or get sad. I couldn’t laugh too hard. It was only when I came back that I thought I didn’t have to do this anymore, remain without feelings. But when people kept asking for war stories I decided that I had to go back to closing off my feelings. I lived my life thinking I couldn’t get too sad because I might start crying and might not be able to stop. I had to live in a very narrow range of feelings to get through. I spent my whole adult life for 40 plus years pretending like I didn’t have any problems and that I was okay. I’m a lot better now. My therapist tells me to think of it like a Band-Aid. I can rip off the Band-Aid once a year and tell people about the stories. But after that I put the Band-Aid back on and don’t think about it.” (2/2)

Dr. Larry Sanders, Agricultural Economics Professor
Carlsbad, New Mexico

In honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to share some thoughts from my favorite professor during my undergrad program at OSU. Dr. Sanders taught Environmental Economics. The only course work that I had with environmentalist versus animal scientist. It was the best learning experience I had on campus.

Dr. Sanders took my exceptionally narrow and singular view of the word and forced to me think outside of that box. He forced me to stand outside of a problem and to see all the possible ripples that solutions might cause. One particular class discussion about world hunger remains as one of the stand out “Aha” moments of my entire life.

Not only do I want to thank Dr. Sanders for his service to our country and for his dedication to molding young minds, but I thought his quote was powerful. I think he brings awareness to something we all so often overlook-the reintegration of veterans back into society and how they deal with the emotions of what they experienced and how those experiences alter the outlook and course of their lives.

I hope that his story touches someone and encourages them to not wait 40 years to seek help. Life should be spent laughing and crying and living.

I am proud to call him my teacher.

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