Celebrating Veteran's Day With Mrs. Banks.
For more than 30 years, Mrs. Suzy Banks has served the students and families at St. Luke's, first as faculty and then as Academic Dean. One of our most beloved traditions, the school's Veterans' Day Program, was created by Mrs. Banks. While other schools take the day off, St. Luke's students, faculty, and community gather to show our gratitude for those who served.
Recently, Social Media Intern Kelly Choi, interviewed Mrs. Banks on the reason our Veterans' Day Program is so close to her heart.
Kelly Choi Please tell us a little bit about yourself and why Veterans Day is so special to you, personally.
Suzy Banks: I learned to appreciate Veterans Day when I was a young child. My father being a WWII veteran instilled patriotism in me. I don’t know how much I actually understood at that age, but my sisters and I knew to be appreciative of the men and women who fought in that war. As I have grown older and studied the history of the various wars and visited the museum in New Orleans as well as the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Memorials in Washington DC. I have developed an even stronger and deeper appreciation of the sacrifices that the servicemen and women have made for us. Being the granddaughter of a WWI veteran, daughter of a WWII veteran, wife of a Desert Storm veteran and mother of an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, I think by observing Veterans Day with a special assembly is just a small way that I can show that appreciation.
KC:   Regarding your husband's service, how many times was he deployed and to where? For how long?
SB:   My husband served for 30 years, but was only deployed during Operation Desert Storm.
KC:   How did you stay in touch?
SB:   Being deployed during the early 90’s, the main means of communication at that time was still mail. Cell phone towers were really just coming into play at that time, so occasionally, we would get a phone call from him when he was riding around in the desert which was kind of cool back then. We also made video tapes and would send him those especially at Christmas when he wasn’t home.
KC:   Were you surprised or expecting his deployment?
SB:   Well, a little of both. As we would watch the news, we could feel the tension mounting in the Middle East. As we would say, the war drums were beating. My husband was actually getting letters indicating that a possible deployment was imminent, but I think in the back of our minds we hoped that the war would be averted. Needless to say, when the phone call came that late August , Sunday afternoon, that his unit needed to report Monday for active duty, we were shocked! Our world was suddenly turned upside down.
KC:   What was the hardest part about deployment (from your standpoint)?
SB:   At that time, I had three young children at home, ages 7,10, and 13. I was also working here at St. Luke’s, so suddenly trying to be a single parent and not knowing what the future held for us was very difficult. The children really missed their dad and were always afraid that he wouldn’t come home. He missed things like their birthdays, Christmas, and special school events that year. Also not living in a military community was especially difficult because there weren’t too many other families quite like ours.
KC:   From whom did you get support while he was gone?
SB:   Of course, our families really filled in the gaps as much as possible along with some really close friends, one of whom works here today, Mrs. Cathy Hayes.
KC:   What advice would you give other families separated by deployment?
SB:   Even though it may be difficult to ask for support, please reach out to let others know you need help.
KC:   Anything else you want to tell us about your experience as the wife of a veteran?
SB:   Even though that was a really difficult time when my husband was deployed, God used that situation in my life to help me grow in my faith. He allows us to go through difficult times so that we can help others.
Thanks Mrs. Banks for sharing your story and helping St. Luke's celebrate Veteran's Day.