Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” the late John F. Kennedy famously said during his 1961 presidential inauguration speech.
Military Appreciation Week lent SRU students the opportunity to do just that, celebrating and fundraising for the individuals who serve our country. The SRU community and members of the public were encouraged to participate throughout the week.
The events kicked off Monday to honor veterans from SRU and around the nation in a series of fundraisers on campus leading up to the Veterans Day ceremony.
Prefacing the ceremony on Friday, the Student Veterans of America (SVA) and the Office for Inclusion Excellence (OIE) brought four days of ongoing activities. Events held on the first floor of the SSC included the Military Service Recognition Event, providing a table of dog tag cutouts that filled the SSC windows with names of veterans and supportive messages. Another event was the Veterans Day Pin Fundraiser, funding future SVA events through poppy pin purchases.
“The truth is, many of us take our veterans for granted,” Slippery Rock Mayor, David Longo said in a speech delivered during the annual Veterans Day ceremony. “We need to thank them not just through lip service, but through our actions.”
Thanking the community and campus, Longo stated Slippery Rock’s “rich and patriotic spirit” contributed to the respect and gratitude for veterans throughout the year.
The Veterans Day ceremony began at 11:00 a.m. on Friday and was held at the Russell Wright Alumni House.
Guest speaker and homeland security major William Reed spoke on behalf of student veterans, thanking the SVA as it made his transition from military to civilian life easier, providing ample educational opportunities for him and others who served the country.
After Reed’s remarks, Mayor Longo gave the keynote speech thanking those who served and the Slippery Rock and SRU communities for their commitment to veterans.
Following Longo, Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Jennifer Martin recognized new Army ROTC cadets and granted official compensation for their service to the country.
Ellie Wingard, Brookville, Pa. native and music therapy major, sang the national anthem and “God Bless America” during the ceremony alongside Gabe Koller, music education major from Bellefonte, Pa. performing “Taps.”
The Veterans Day ceremony concluded with the raising of colors, laying of wreath and a 21-gun salute by the SRU Army ROTC outside of the venue.