My paternal great grandfather, Jack Jackson, was a veteran. Born in 1853, Jackson was a spy for the Union Army. Because of his service, his compensation was rich “bottom land” in Eastern Tennessee. My family remained on that land until the early twentieth century when, during the Great Migration, my grandfather moved to Elkhart, Indiana for greater employment opportunities and a better life for his family, free from the segregation and discrimination of the south.
However, Jack Jackson was not the first of my family to serve. One of my ancestors, Fredrick Sterling, was a Private in the Colored Infantry also serving in the Civil War. And in many of major conflicts through the twentieth century, my family members served in every branch of the military. That legacy of service continues to the present day as three of my nieces are in the Air Force, Staff Sergeant select Carolyn Walker, Staff Sergeant select Aundrea Britt, and Airman Danielle Walker.
So, it is with great pride that I write to honor and acknowledge National Veterans and Military Families Month. Our veterans have fought and served for the protections and freedoms that we enjoy and, at times, take for granted. As my family legacy demonstrates, they even fought for freedoms and protections not extended to them. But the sacrifices of our veterans and military families have made it possible for each of us to enjoy better lives and expanded opportunities. Thus, we say thank you to our veterans and military families, recognizing in particular those who are a part of the Business School: Colonel Brent French, USAF, Retired; Second Lieutenant Steve Taylor, USAF, Retired; and Captain Katie Ducharme, USA, Retired. And we give a big shout out to Major Dan Walker, MS Business Analytics ’22, an active-duty Army officer currently living in Alaska. Thank you all for your service. We are grateful and it is a privilege to celebrate you.