The service and sacrifice of the nation’s veterans was honored during a special program Friday, Nov. 9, at Tusculum College to commemorate Veteran’s Day on campus.
The Veteran’s Day Service was held outside the main entrance of Niswonger Commons with veteran students, staff and a community member participating in the program.
Cory Callahan of Bristol, a Tusculum student and veteran, shared the history of Veteran’s Day, which started as Armistice Day to honor those who served during World War I. During President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration, the name of the holiday was changed by Congress to Veteran’s Day to honor all those who have served in the nation’s military. Callahan served seven years in the U.S. Coast Guard in Florida.
Arthur Ricker, a World War II veteran who was involved in the D-Day invasion, read the poem, “They Did Their Share,” by Joann Fuchs, which encourages Americans to express gratitude to veterans for their service.
“All of them did their share,” Ricker read. “No matter what the duty for low pay and little glory, these soldiers gave up normal lives for duties mundane and gory. Let every veteran be honored, don’t let politics get in the way. Without them, freedom would have died; what they did, we can’t repay.”
Wayne Murphy, director of campus safety who served in both the U.S. Air Force and Navy, read Abraham Lincoln’s “Letter to Mrs. Bixby,” a widow who lost more than one son in the Civil War.
Lincoln wrote in the letter, “I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.”
Mark Stokes, director of religious life, community and church relations, read a passage of scripture from John 15 that includes Jesus’ words, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Stokes served in the U.S. Marines.
The Pioneer Band performed the National Anthem and a musical salute to the military services. As each branch of the service’s theme song was played, members of the audience who served in that branch stepped forward and were recognized.
Tim Ford, a member of Tusculum’s Facilities Management staff, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Ford, who served in the Marines, also decorated the entrance of Niswonger Commons with flags.