JROTC and Veterans Day Ceremony!

Faculty, students, and military veterans braved the cold Friday morning to commemorate Veterans Day 2007.   Bri L. of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes gave the invocation.  LTC James Holly was the featured speaker, and in his speech, he reminded us of the hardships past and present veterans have faced and the value of freedom.  Mr. Rob Opitz, Director of Bands, performed the national anthem on the trumpet as the JROTC cadets raised the flag.  Veterans from all branches of our Armed Forces were recognized and thanked for their service and dedication. 

Below is the full text of LTC Holly’s speech.  Many thanks to everyone who came to support JROTC and our veterans! 

AS YOU MAY KNOW, 11 NOVEMBER WAS DESIGNATED AS VETERAN’S REMEMBRANCE DAY TO MARK THE END OF WORLD WAR I.  REMEMBRANCE DAY WAS ESTABLISHED FIRST BY ENGLAND AND FRANCE.  THE UNITED STATES, ALREADY HAVING MEMORIAL DAY, DID NOT ESTABLISH NOVEMBER 11 AS A NATIONAL HOLIDAY UNTIL THE 1930S.  WHILE MEMORIAL DAY IS A DAY TO HONOR SERVICE MEMBERS WHO HAVE MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE, VETERAN’S DAY IS A DAY TO HONOR AND REMEMBER ALL AMERICANS WHO HAVE SERVED IN OUR ARMED FORCES.IT IS UNFORTUNATE WE EVEN HAVE THESE DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE.  IT IS A SAD STATEMENT WHEN WE NOTE AND REMEMBER SOME OF THE LOWEST POINTS IN HUMAN HISTORY.  VETERANS SERVE AS A CONSTANT REMINDER OF OUR FAILURE TO NOT SETTLE OUR ISSUES IN NON-VIOLENT WAYS.    UNFORTUNATELY, THE WORLD IS NOT A SAFE PLACE, AND THROUGHOUT HISTORY, MAN HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THE NEED TO STAND READY TO DEFEND OURSELVES FROM THOSE WHO WOULD DO US HARM.  THROUGH OUR 231 YEARS AS A REPUBLIC, FREE MEN AND WOMEN HAVE STOOD IN THE LINE TO DEFEND THE FREEDOMS WE AMERICANS HOLD DEAR TO OUR HEARTS.  GEORGE ORWELL ONCE SAID “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”TODAY WE ARE EMBROILED IN A WAR AGAINST AN ENEMY MANY OF US CANNOT EVEN COMTEMPLATE.  WE ARE NOT FIGHTING A NATION STATE, BUT A FACELESS BRUTAL OPPONENT WHO WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN TO DESTROY OUR WAY OF LIFE AND DICTATE TO US EVERY ASPECT OF OUR EXISTENCE.  MUCH DEBATE OCCURS OVER THE LEGITIMACY OF THIS WAR, AND HOW IT IS BEING PROSECUTED.  THE FACT WE CAN DEBATE THIS SUBJECT IN PUBLIC IS ONE OF THE VERY FREEDOMS VETERANS HAVE FOUGHT SO HARD TO PROTECT.  GOOD PEOPLE THROUGHOUT AMERICAN HISTORY HAVE ALWAYS RISEN TO THE CHALLENGE TO CONFRONT EVIL AND DEFEND THE IDEALS OF THIS NATION, MORE TIMES THAN NOT, AS VOLUNTEERS.  THE CURRENT WAR IS AN EXAMPLE OF THIS.  THIS IS THE LONGEST RUNNING CONFLICT SINCE OUR REVOLUTION TO RELY COMPLETELY ON A VOLUNTARY ARMED FORCE.WHILE NO VETERAN HOPES FOR WAR.  THEY STAND AND HAVE STOOD IN READINESS TO PROTECT THIS NATION FROM THOSE WHO WOULD DO US HARM AND TO PROTECT THE LIBERTIES WE OFTEN DO NOT KNOW WE EVEN HAVE.AT THIS TIME I WOULD LIKE TO RECOGNIZE OUR VETERAN VISITORS.  PLEASE RISE WHEN I CALL YOUR SERVICE.VETERANS OF THE US ARMY, US NAVY, USMC, USAF, COAST GUARD.IN CLOSING, I WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE STUDENTS ASSEMBLED HERE.  IT IS YOU WHO ARE THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY.  WE VETERANS CHALLENGE YOU TO RISE TO THE DEMANDS OF WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE TO BE, BUT FIRST WE CHALLENGE YOU TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED YOU IN THIS INSTITUTION.  YOU ONLY HAVE TO READ THE PAPERS OR WATCH THE NEWS TO SEE COUNTRIES SUCH AS IRAN, VENEZUELA, AND NOW PAKISTAN ACTIVELY DENYING THEIR PEOPLE THEIR LIBERTIES AND ACTIVELY DENYING THEIR STUDENTS ACCESS TO AN EDUCATION.  YOUR VETERANS HAVE FOR GENERATIONS, SERVED US TO GUARANTEE YOUR RIGHTS AS A STUDENT.  LEARN WELL IN REMEMBRANCE OF US.  THANK YOU!!!!!

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