“Let our hearts and thoughts go out to all those who have made our freedom possible” were the first words of a prayer spoken at the Veteran’s Day ceremony, the only event on campus organized to commemorate the holiday, put on by the ROTC program only a week in advance by Master Sgt. Timothy Ross. “Today, we honor the soldiers of the past, the soldiers of today and the soldiers to be. They are our heroes … and heroes never die.”
According to Ross, the College almost did not have a Veteran’s Day ceremony. The Senior Military Science Instructor said he pulled together the memorial ceremony after he realized nothing was being done to commemorate the day. “It’s shameful, especially during a war,” he said.
Ross passed out flyers, made phone calls, sent e-mails and put an ad in The Signal to publicize the event. He expressed thanks to the numerous student organizations that helped in the planning and execution of the ceremony.
Lt. Col. Tim Brown, director of ROTC, gave a speech in honor of the day.
“(Veterans) are asked to leave their families, homes and jobs to stand on the walls of freedom in far away places,” Brown said. “Whether you agree or disagree with why they were sent throughout the world is not the point. The point is that you must honor those who answered the call. They paid the price for our freedom, a freedom we must never take lightly.”
College alumna and Brig. Gen. Maria Falca-Dodson of the New Jersey National Guard, said there are endless reasons to observe Veteran’s Day. “We live in a free country with the longest running democracy. This is because of veterans. They got us here and kept us here,” she said. “It takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice to put on a uniform.”
A moment of silence was observed for deceased veterans. The American flag, held by a color guard, was rolled up and covered while two members of the Voice of Hope, the Christian a cappella group on campus, sang the National Anthem.
The service was held at the College’s war memorial, located near the main entrance on Pennington Road. The memorial contains 15 names of alumni and students who served in World War I and World War II. Air force cadets of the ROTC, Army ROTC cadets and a Marine PLC (Platoon Leader’s Course), as well as many other officers attended the ceremony along with students, faculty, military families and members of the community.
Ross said he wants to add the names of the many students and alumni who have served or are serving in various parts of the world to the memorial. “It is important to recognize these people,” Ross said. “They deserve recognition.”