Padraic Manning – Staff Writer
CLARION, Pa.- There was a full house for the Veterans Day Ceremony. The ceremony, despite planners moving it from the original location outside at the apple, succeeded in drawing out former service members and their families, as well as a sizable number of students.
Student Rachel Miller said, “I just think that especially at this point with all the division in the country, it is important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for all of us regardless of our politics.”
The ceremony began with opening remarks from U.S. Army veteran Professor Joseph Croskey, which transitioned to President Karen Whitney, who welcomed veterans saying they “represent the best of what it means to be ‘Courageous, Confident, Clarion.’”
After Whitney’s welcoming remarks and signature “fly eagles fly” cheer, the commencement ceremony began, in which five female recruits went on to become cadets in the Army of the United States.
The commencement of the five new cadets was followed by a presentation of a scholarship check amounting to $47,500 to each for their work and dedication to the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, and Clarion University as a whole.
Remarks from the event’s keynote speaker, Mr. Dan Smith, who served in the United States Marine Corps and served multiple tours over seas in both Iraq and Afghanistan, followed.
During his speech, Smith spoke extensively on the importance of Veterans Day, not just as a day to celebrate veterans, but also the families of veterans, who he called “the least recognized group, despite the numerous sacrifices they also make.”
Smith went on to speak of the importance of the military, putting politics aside and still continuing to serve despite possible fears of the future. It was a powerful message of support in a time when many are concerned about state of the nation.
Smith went on to praise the young servicemen and women currently serving overseas, calling them “all that is good in American youth.”
After Smith’s speech, the ceremony ended with some closing remarks from Croskey as he urged citizens to thank a veteran for their service this past Veterans Day and to remember all they sacrifice.