Empathy: A Universal Caveat

Empathy: A Universal Caveat

As students of TWC, it is our charge to be of service to the community this summer. I believe the lesson that is desired is that involvement with the community is an essential part of an accomplished citizen’s life. This service takes the form of the civic engagement portion of our program. Of the topics that coincide with community needs, I selected veterans affairs. My participation in the veterans affairs group has left me with a topic to pursue and understand.


Nelson Mandela strongly believed that, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” I interpret this statement as a call for activity that leads to empathy. I also opine that this has universal application.


In a class segment that I attended during the TWC career day entitled Emotional Intelligence, empathy was described as going beyond sympathy in that it creates connection, not separation. I have seen the significance and use of empathy in my foreign relations seminar, my internship, and my approach to D.C., but I believe it applies most gracefully to the service I have done.


Honor Flight

The dedicated volunteers of the Honor Flight organization facilitate the travel of our venerable veterans to Washington, D.C. to experience the monument in place to honor the service in whichever war they participated in and to tour the city. It is a heart-warming thing to get to remember and thank veterans by giving them a “memorable, safe and rewarding tour.”


My service with Honor Flight allowed me to engage a group of individuals that I would not normally be able to interact with. Further, I was able to establish connections with veterans and share a common experience. I gained insight into the lives of veterans and what they have experienced.



During the two-hour tour of the Vietnam and Korea Memorials, I had the privilege of guiding Alan Hemoler, a Vietnam vet, who spent over two years on the ground, fighting for our country. It was truly a privilege, and I will never forget our interaction.



If we all practiced empathy, I believe the world would be a much better place. Practicing empathy involves pubic engagement and participation in order to make connections with people. My service with Honor Flight has encouraged me to get out there and create bonds with people who I wouldn’t normally connect with.


It is better to give than to receive,

Cole M. Vance

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