Veterans Day is meant to honor both fallen soldiers and those who have been in an active military role. The Pacific Lutheran University community celebrated Veterans Day during chapel break Monday at Lagerquist Concert Hall.
The ceremony began with the Posting of Colors by PLU’s Reserve Officers Training Corps. Later, PLU student and U.S. Army veteran Sgt. Jeremy Dornbusch read a welcome message written by President Thomas Krise, Krise being unable to attend the ceremony due to a school-related conflict.
The Master of Ceremonies, retired Sgt. First Class Robert Rahal of PLU’s ROTC, introduced keynote speaker Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Keller.
Keller is a Professor of Military Science for PLU’s Army ROTC and veteran of the U.S. Army for 27 years.
“As a veteran now, I really don’t feel different from a civilian,” Keller said.
In his speech to the assembly, Keller said Veteran’s Day is a day for reflection, honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“There’s so many out there who have served and are currently out there serving,” Keller said. “They protect us so we can go about our daily lives as usual.”
Keller continued to say there is a divide between those serving in the military and those not, otherwise known as civillians. He explained that vets make up 1 percent of the population, and that civillians support their troops, but don’t understand the issues veterans face. Keller’s sollution is very simple.
“Get out and know us,” he said. “Most of us like to talk. We like to share our stories.”
Keller went on to say that sometimes vets don’t share their stories because they believe civilians will not understand what they went through and the problems faced in combat compared to a civilian’s everyday life issues.
“We [vets] need to strive to be more patient and understanding to bridge that gap,” Keller said.
Keller concluded his speech by encouraging students to get to know a vet.
“I guarantee that if you get to know a vet, take a little time to learn something about them and understand [them], you will be rewarded with an overwhelming sense of pride and assurance,” he said, “proud to be an American and assured of this nation’s strength. Assured and optimistic of our bright future. That we are all, in fact, in very good hands.”
A military melody followed Keller’s speech, where the PLU brass quitent honored veterans and active duty members by playing the service song for each branch of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. When a song played, the respected members of that part of the military in the audience stood to be honored and recognized.
“It was great to see all of the different groups [of veterans] come together and stand during their different songs,” Lesley Gardner, a campus ministry administrative assistant, said. “And it was great for everyone to come together to honor those who have served our country.”
The event concluded with a moving rendition of “God Bless America” and the retiring of the colors.
A reception followed the ceremony in Lagerquist’ main lobby where PLU ROTC students and civilians alike spoke to and thanked the veterans who attended.
“It truly brightens our day when we receive those random ‘thank you for your service’ comments,” Keller said.
The whole month of November is dedicated to veterans at PLU. To find a full list of events, go to http://www.plu.edu/news/2013/10/veterans/.