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Veterans commemorated at PUC

By Marissa O'Donley
On November 14, 2010

It was in the 11th month on the 11th day and 11th hour the fighting and hostility of the World War I ended, a good seven months prior to the official end of the war. It is this day President Woodrow Wilson dubbed as Veterans Day.

On this day, PUC held a ceremony in Alumni Hall. It was opened by Veterans Administration Graduate Assistant Angela Johnson, who introduced the posting of colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.

After this Chancellor Howard Cohen took the stage, starting on a dark note.

"There is very little reason to believe that the 21st century will realize Wilson's dream," Cohen said in regards to President Wilson's statement in 1919 that he hoped there would be no more war and the importance of the military. "Our world is not a safer place."

Cohen gave a lengthy speech about World War I, and the beginnings of Veterans Day, before moving on to why PUC held the ceremony.

"We want to take this day to celebrate the strengths of our veterans, their courage, their patriotism, and their loyalty, but also to acknowledge the continuing sacrifices they make every day," Cohen said.

Congressman Pete Visclosky also attended. He started off speaking fondly of his father, who is a veteran as well, and of how he goes to meals with his parents and fights over the check.

He had many thanks: for his father still being alive and well, for PUC for commemorating the veterans and for so many of the veterans who attended. He also had a lengthy statement to make about the day.

"The most precious gift we have is our life, and the time we have within it," Visclosky said. "We do honor veterans who have lost their lives; we do honor those that served us in military that were injured. I add to that everyone who ever took that oath and served, because each of them gave us their time, and they can't get that back. It is right we take some of our time today and honor them as well."

After a few more speakers, including Stacey Howell, the president of Veterans Enlisted Students Association, the United States Naval Gospel Choir sang for the commemoration, which some of the audience clapped and sang along with. One of the songs they recited for the veterans was "I Give Myself Away."

Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell, who served for over 30 years in the Army, took the stage once the choir finished. Campbell said it was indeed a special day, as this year marked the 39th anniversary of Veterans Day, and of the end of World War I.

He continued with a bit of humor.

"Julius Caesar was a general. Julius Caesar gave long speeches. They killed Julius Caesar," Campbell said, to much laughter from the crowd, with the addition he would try to be brief.

Everyone in the room bowed their heads as there was a moment of silence for the soldiers who have been lost, with a memorial to Arnold Ridgell, a veteran and important part of the Boots to Books program who passed away on Nov. 4. His family was also honored and acknowledged for their loss.  After the colors were retrieved, the family stood with the memorial for photos.

Campbell went on to speak of everyone the day honors, speaking of the "deep debt of gratitude" felt by many to the veterans, and of the difficulty of serving in the military.


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