This past Friday was Veterans Day, which some regard as a day of sales on merchandise like cars, clothing and furniture. However, with the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan there is a stronger call on Americans to honor the sacrifices men and women of this generation — and those before — have made to protect this country.
Among the nation’s brave soldiers is USF Sophomore Antonio Brown.
He enlisted into the Army when he was 23 years old. During his term, he was deployed five times to countries like Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Brown served in the Army as a sergeant for ten years before receiving veteran status in fall 2009.
Regarding his motivation to enlist, Brown said, “It was something I had always wanted to do as a kid.” Brown said he was also inspired by some of his relatives whom had served in the Marines, Army and Navy.
“Being in the Army gave me a sense of pride, confidence, and discipline. If you work through it than you can make it through anything,” Brown said.
“It took a lot of adjusting, coming back to civilian life when you are used to waking up at 3 am and you’re always on the go. Life seems to be moving slower now because in the army there is always an objective for the day,” Brown added.
Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Brown said he chose USF for several reasons. He was attracted to USF’s diversity, its dedication to social service and the culturally enriching experience of living in San Francisco.
“I love USF, I love the people, and I love the small classes as opposed to public schools. I also love the professors, all of them,” Brown said.
Currently 35, Brown is pursuing a major in International Studies with an emphasis in economics. He plans to work on economic injustice issues in Eastern and South Africa post-graduation.
Reflecting on the significance Veteran’s Day holds for him, Brown said, “For me this day is more of a day of reflection. When I was younger I would celebrate with my grandfather who had served so it was a big deal, but today I mostly reflect on the experience I had and how honored I am to be a part of the one percent of people who serve in the military in the country.”