Take time to reflect this Memorial Day; people serving may be sitting in the seat next to you

Mary Athorp, Staff Reporter

It might seem crazy to think that Memorial Day is nearly here. It seems as though time is moving faster than ever before. However, even though time is running a fast race, it’s still important to take an extra couple of minutes to slow down and appreciate the wonderful gift of freedom that is present in the United States. Memorial Day is a holiday meant to honor and remember the people that have died in the name of freedom. How incredible and courageous these men and women were, to give their lives for the betterment of many. As crucial as it is to look back on the past and remember those who have already paid the ultimate price, it’s also important to recognize those that are currently working to preserve the caliber of safety and national pride in the United States.

The Lakeland campus is home to several individuals who are serving in the military while also balancing a course schedule and other activities.

One such student is Christian Gartner, a senior here at Lakeland and studying creative writing. After graduating, he is hoping to continue pursuing his dream of becoming a novelist or short story writer.

Gartner served in the Navy from 2013-2017, a dream he had since he was little. During his time, he specifically worked with MH-53E Sea Dragons, a meticulously intricate aircraft, and an aircraft that Gartner himself is very passionate about. However, working in the Navy gave Gartner more than just a passion for this particular machine. It gave him a new perspective on life and a greater sense of circumstantial awareness. He says: “I wouldn’t trade the experience the Navy gave me for anything else. I was, and still am proud to have served”.

One interesting idea that Gartner pointed out was how grateful he is for the overwhelming amount of support that Lakeland has given him regarding his service. He mentions how from past experiences, he encountered “A lot of negative generalizations that I(he) felt were largely unfair and made it very difficult to do group work and participate in discussions”. However, coming to Lakeland gave him the hope and encouragement he needed to be proud of his service.

There’s no doubt that Gartner deserves support, encouragement, and gratitude. He, along with anyone else who has been involved in the United States military deserve to be celebrated. It’s because of individuals like him that give people in America the many wonderful opportunities that are presented to them.

So, thank you, Christian. Thank you to all who have served and are currently serving. Take time on this Memorial Day to reflect upon the blessings you are surrounded by, and really consider the reason those blessings are there.