AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) – An Army Veteran turns to community members to recognize Veterans on Veteran's day and every day.
Army Staff Sgt. Drew Lufkin was one of the many Veterans who gathered at the Council Chambers in Auburn on November 10 to honor the nation’s Veterans.
Lufkin spent 15 years as a US Army Ranger, completing four combat deployments: three in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
Following his retirement, Lufkin found his way to Auburn, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 2019 and is now pursuing his master’s in finance. He also serves as the current president of the Auburn Student Veterans Association.
“I graduated from high school about three months before September 11, 2001,” said Lufkin. “I remember being in high school and my naivety leading me to the conclusion, you know, we're never going to have to go to war, that stuff is over, I don't have to worry about that.”
Lufkin had originally joined the Army Reserves to help offset the cost of college tuition while being under the impression that the United States will not become involved in a foreign conflict.
“And, you know, three months later, some guys drove planes in the World Trade Center,” said Lufkin. “It filled me with a resolve, and it made me very, very angry."
The following year, Lufkin was diagnosed with Leukemia and spent two and a half years on chemotherapy.
“I'm gonna tell you that life event really got me ready for everything that I was gonna go through later. I think that nothing tells you who you are and what you do like going through hardship,” said Lufkin.
To conclude his speech, Lufkin instructed everyone to pull out their phones.
“What's Veterans Day for? To recognize and honor Veterans and everybody who served our country: everybody who's put their life on the line,” sayd Lufkin. “But also to recognize that we, as a community, have a responsibility to make sure they're still doing okay.”
Lufkin expressed the range of emotions that he associates with Veterans Day.
“Send them a message that tells them unequivocally that today somebody cares about them,” said Lufkin.
Mayor Ron Anders of Auburn concluded the ceremony by reminding the community that “every day is a good day to tell a Veteran, thank you.”