Thanking the Nation’s Heroes

Photo by Christopher Reif
Giving Back to the Nation's Heroes: On Nov. 11, Cameron University ROTC cadets traveled to the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center for games and fellowship with local veterans.

Jonathan Vann
Staff Writer

On Nov. 11 Cameron University students, faculty, alumni and veterans throughout Lawton congregated to Veterans Cove and participated in the annual Veterans Day Observance Ceremony.

The university and the award-winning ROTC program hosted the ceremony to recognize and honor all who have served in the military and made the ultimate sacrifice.

The ceremony commenced with Cameron University’s ROTC program posting both the American and state flags followed by a rendition of the National Anthem by the CU Centennial Singers then an inspirational address by guest speaker Major General Brian McKiernan, the Commanding General of the Fires Center of Excellence on Ft. Sill.

Cameron University President Dr. John McArthur, who was also a guest speaker at the ceremony, said that the university wanted to show their deepest respect to those who served, lost their lives while serving, and their families who go on living.

“As a community, whether it is the Cameron community, Lawton community or our Oklahoma community, we need to support our families all the time and not just one day a year,” McArthur said.

The observance ceremony was not the lone tribute to the veterans. From Nov. 7-14, 6,750 American flags were on display throughout campus. Each one of the flags posted embodied a life lost in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

According to McArthur, the flag display is a true testament to the deference Cameron University shows veterans.

“It lets us extend the event to more than just a 45-minute ceremony,” McArthur said. “It lets our students remember the event for the entire week, and I think it fosters good campus conversation in that each one of these flags represents a fallen soldier since 9-11.”

McKiernan said he was deeply grateful for the flag display and the honor towards veterans Cameron University displayed.

“I want to thank Cameron University for honoring our veterans and I hope that every student, faculty member and citizen has the opportunity to stroll through campus and gaze upon 6,750 flags recognizing the ultimate sacrifice made by those men and women who lost their lives during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan,” McKiernan said.

The most poignant and appreciative moment of the ceremony took place during the participation of the Annual National Remembrance Roll Call. Names of soldiers from all five branches of the military who lost their lives in combat since the previous Veterans Day were individually recognized.

McKiernan was appreciative for the recognition of the fallen soldiers and said it was a honor to celebrate such an important day with members of such a great community.

“I want to thank Cameron University for honoring a very special category of veterans – in particular with the roll call – our fallen veterans and those who gave their all in the last 12 months,” he said.

Sophomore history major Christopher Ryter said the ceremony moved him and gratitude was the biggest message he received.

“The ceremony really hit home for me,” Ryter said. “That flag has always stood because people have been willing to die for it.”

Junior criminal justice major Chris Lacock said the proceedings of the observance had immeasurable meaning to him.

“It was a great experience, and it definitely showed me what men and women have done for the country,” Lacock said. “It shows something to be proud of, the men and women who have gone out there and given their lives and given all they can for our country.”

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