Throughout America’s history, Yale has maintained a strong tradition of service to the nation, even before the United States was a country. Esteemed Yale alumnus Nathan Hale epitomized this tradition by proclaiming, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” during the American Revolutionary War. Thousands of Yale graduates have gone on to exemplify the words of Nathan Hale by dedicating their talents to a higher calling, participating in efforts to preserve peace and freedom throughout the nation and around the world. For generations, this spirit of service to the country has been captured by the resounding conclusion to Yale’s traditional college song, Bright College Years: “For God, For Country, and for Yale!”
In 1916, Yale sophomore F. Trubee Davison launched what would become the first naval air reserve unit in U.S. military history. This move helped set the path for Yale graduates to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government during the 20th century and beyond. During World War II, entire classes from the “Greatest Generation” left the university for years to answer their country's call to service. Many never returned back to Yale, and others came back to finish their studies on an accelerated schedule. Yale students and faculty challenged established practices during the Vietnam War, but facilitated conversations that enhanced the effectiveness of military policy by encouraging diversity in the ranks and restraint for unchecked use of military force. Today, Yale’s tradition of service continues with the return of ROTC and influence of student veterans on campus, many of whom served in the post-9/11 wars.
The Yale Veterans Summit will bring together military, government, civic, and academic leaders to discuss the way forward for civil-military relations in the United States. The Summit will focus on issues such as national service, veterans education and employment, and civil-military cooperation on the front lines. At a time when less than 1% of the nation’s population has borne the burden of America’s most recent wars, this important conversation aims to chart a way forward for bridging the gap between the leaders that create policy, those that execute it, and the citizens they have both sworn to defend. We look forward to your participation and seeing you at the Summit!
Tom Opladen ’66
Chris Harnisch ’15 SOM
Danny Kohnen ’15 SOM
Sam Hussain ’16
Henry Kwan ’05 MA
Yale Veterans Summit