Nov. 11 marked the 57th observance of Veterans Day since its initiation as a national holiday in 1954 as a way to recognize all American veterans.
There are approximately 21.5 million veterans alive in the United States. Of those, 1.5 million fulfilled their service in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.
In a ceremony on Nov. 8, Wheaton College ROTC honored veterans who are part of the Wheaton community, their families and the veterans across the nation.
Guest speaker Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin White talked at the ceremony. White previously served as a professor of military science and battalion commander of the ROTC program at Wheaton College.
“Soldiers are soldiers for life,” he said. “It takes profound strength to wear this nation’s uniform. And once they remove this uniform, no amount of time will … sever the golden thread uniting these veterans through a unique and everlasting bond.”
White listed three points for the audience to remember as they seek to serve U.S. veterans.
“If you walk away remembering three things ... you will understand what our veterans do for this nation, and what we can do for them,” White said.
He said people should first remember that veterans are soldiers for life; second, that the army is committed to life-long support of soldiers and their families; and third, that supporting veterans is a group effort.
White said that veterans and their families are counting on the American people to support them.
“May your words bring forth action. Think of their service and their sacrifice. Don’t just say ‘thank you’ for our veterans — show it,” he said.
White mentioned veterans Lieutenant Colonel Randy Carey MA ’99 and Clarence “C-Train” Edwards, a current staff member, highlighting them as examples of soldiers who extended their service on the battlefield into service in everyday life.
“(They) are excellent examples of this, and they continue to try to serve here in the Wheaton community,” White said. “ROTC alumni have also served as role models in our army. Not only are they great military role models, but they also serve as great Christian role models”
White recounted a story from a ROTC graduate, Captain Jason Farmer ’01, who was a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq, as an illustration.
According to White, Farmer told his platoon he would pray before each of their missions, and anyone was welcome to join.
At first, only about three members did. When their Humvee driver escaped unscathed after the vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, however, the whole platoon began to join in the pre-mission prayers.
The event’s proceedings included the singing of the national anthem and the official Army song, a flag folding ceremony and a gun salute.
In chapel on Monday, Nov. 12, the official day of observance of Veterans Day, a Wheaton student led the opening prayer and shared his personal experience of living in a military family.
This Veterans Day calls to mind the soldiers currently deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and their continued service to protect the United States.
Banner and Photo Courtesy: Nate Jones
Printed in the November 16, 2012, issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.