Living with honor this Veterans Day

A Veterans Day message from Air Force veteran and MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

Nov. 10, 2022

The theme for Veterans Day 2022 is “Honor.” This theme was chosen by the Department of Veteran Affairs to “reflect the military value and tradition of answering the call to duty.”

Just as I wrote last Veterans Day about how we can follow veterans’ lead when it comes to serving each other, we can also learn from the military’s example when it comes to living with honor.

One of the core values of the Air Force, where I served for 10 years, is “Service Before Self.” Members of the Air Force are “expected to have the discipline to follow rules, exhibit self-control and possess respect for the beliefs, authority and worth of others.” Another value is “Integrity First,” which requires us to “do what is right even when no one is looking.”

Unfortunately, we live in a time when Americans have too many examples of not respecting the worth of others: our leaders are increasingly partisan, we are witnessing political violence, and hate crimes are on the rise. A fraying social contract is increasingly threatening our democracy.

At such times, choosing to live honorably and demonstrating respect for each other both publicly and privately is more important than ever. Indeed, I believe that tapping into these American values is what will help us weather this societal storm.

At Metropolitan State University of Denver, our leaders are developing a set of “fundamentals” that roadrunners can contemplate and live by, and one of these is “Treat everyone with dignity and respect.” We want everyone to treat others in a way that honors their self-worth and respects their value as unique individuals, regardless of their heritage, culture, tenure or beliefs.

It helps to remember that we all arrive on this planet through no effort of our own. Who our parents are, where we are born, and under what circumstances are not our choice. We have more control over who we become and how we live our lives, but there is more than meets the eye to every person; that reality influences all of our interactions.

To have honor is to show respect in spite of differences, to answer the call of living in a collective society, and to serve others. Like Roadrunners, members of the military come from myriad backgrounds and work together toward common goals and the greater good. I am grateful for the years I spent in uniform where I learned firsthand the power of living with honor in one’s daily life. I am thankful for those veterans who continue to lead by example in living with honor in our communities, especially the student, faculty, and staff veterans at MSU Denver who have been raising awareness for mental health resources, hosting workshops for veterans dealing with chronic stress, and even starting nonprofits to help homeless and at-risk veterans.

Living honorably is a daily commitment we can all strive for. Thank you, veterans, for continuing to model this every day. 


Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

Tri-institutional Veterans Day ceremony

Thursday, Nov. 10 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Tivoli Turnhalle

Join all three Auraria Campus institutions for a ceremony honoring men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Retired U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Michael Dumont, will provide the keynote address, and each campus president will give brief remarks. The U.S. Air Force Academy Band’s Stellar Brass will perform, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1 will showcase art from the Veterans Arts Council, and lunch will be served.

Military honor guards march with flags during the start of the Tri-Institutional Veterans Day ceremony on Auraria Campus, Denver, Colo. Nov. 11, 2017.