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A tribute to our student veterans on Independence Day

CMUnow and KAFM Fourth of July special podcast

As we celebrate the July 4th weekend, we want to recognize our fellow Mavericks in uniform who defend the principles of the Declaration of Independence and continually fight for our rights as Americans.

On July 2, the KAFM Community Affairs hour featured CMU student veterans Jeremy Lagree, Jordan Lagree and Desiree Medrano. They each shared their experiences overseas and what the Fourth of July means to them.

“Fourth of July for me is about the people who got us here. The freedoms and the things I get to do every single day, be a college student and live life the way I see fit. Fourth of July for me is really celebrating the people who fought for that right for me," said Navy veteran and CMU nursing student Jordan Lagree.

“Men and women have given their lives for this idea, and it’s what all of us are fighting for,” said CMU student veteran Jeremy Lagree. “Those men and women lay their lives down for us to be able to do the things we’re doing today and it shouldn't go unappreciated.”

Jordan Lagree and her brother Jeremy Lagree come from a family of veterans — their father, his father and his father’s father all were military men who fought before them. But it’s not just our freedom American veterans are fighting for but humanity.

“When you think of the Navy or any military branch, it seems like more a combative thing and some sort of violence tied to that and that’s not all the military does,” said Jeremy Largree.

He believes the humanitarian side of the job often gets overlooked. He reflects back to a time when his ship was docked off the coast of Brazil to help the local people and said he feels it’s an important part of the job.

“It can get daunting knowing that you’re deploying for certain reasons and you might have to do things that you don’t necessarily agree with but you signed up for (it), so it’s nice to get to kind of zoom out and go into a place like that and get to help somebody,” he said. “You get to see that people are people all over the world and sometimes they just need a little help.” 

CMU student veteran Desiree Medrano was stationed in Korea and similar to Lagree, she spent time with others from a completely different culture than her own. Thinking back to the KATUSA soldiers she worked alongside, she said she is reminded this Independence Day not to take anything for granted.

“All males in Korea have to serve in the army, they don’t have a choice, so to have that privilege to step up and want to serve your country makes you appreciate life and what we have a lot more,” said Medrano.

To all of our Mavericks, have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend and remember — there’s a reason for the celebration.

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Written by Kelsey Coleman