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Veteran's Day Ceremonies Honor Military Members for Service & Sacrifice

by on November 12, 2014 6:30 AM

Penn State Veterans Organization President Joe Enman doesn’t just want to thank America’s veterans for their services overseas.

He wants to thank them for all they do at home, too.

When veterans return home to communities like State College and Penn State, they bring certain traits with them: honor, commitment, courage. Enman says Veterans’ Day is a chance to learn from those who have served by reflecting on their sacrifices.

“Those who have gone before us have given us the pathway to what we enjoy today,” Marine Corps veteran and Penn State alumni Roger Roll says. “There are going to be more that go after them, but we can take the time to appreciate the kind of life they’ve given us here in the United States of America.”

Roll was one of many Penn Staters who gathered in front of Old Main Tuesday to pay tribute to past and future veterans in a solemn ceremony.

Josh Lang – an army veteran and dedicated advocate for veterans in Pennsylvania and beyond – thanked the dozens of veterans in attendance for their service and sacrifice.

“You are the lifeblood of this country,” Lang said. “All veterans have earned an important place in American history.”

He recognized that the role of the armed forces is not an easy one. Those who have served know, perhaps better than anyone else, the awful and brutal cost of war. But Lang said it’s the difficulty of their role that makes America’s veterans so selfless and honorable.

Penn State spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz says that Penn State has a long history of supporting veterans. The university’s commonwealth campuses grew by leaps and bounds through World War II with veterans returning home and taking advantage of their benefits to go to college.

Since then, Penn State has had a dedication to serving veterans that has only deepened through the years, Mountz writes in an email. That dedication includes events like Tuesday’s ceremony and the upcoming military appreciation football game against Temple University, as well as services and student organizations to ensure veteran success in academics.

The surrounding State College community also took the time on Tuesday to honor veterans.

Amanda Gorton, manager of the State College American Legion post, says her organization hosted a public ceremony to thank veterans for their service on Tuesday. It was followed by a private event for veterans and their families.

“I think it’s important to honor our fallen soldiers,” Gorton says. “They’re the reason for our freedom, and it’s important to remember everything they’ve sacrificed for us.”

Roll feels Veteran’s Day ceremonies and other events honoring service members are often only attended by veterans and their families. He says the sacrifices made by veterans impact everyone, and more community members should come together to honor their service.

Speaking to the crowd in front of Old Main, Lang said that “we need to do better” for America’s veterans. He reminded the crowd that approximately 22 veterans commit suicide every day, while rates of homelessness and unemployment remain shockingly high among veterans. 

“I encourage you to reach out to a veteran, to be that missing link in their lives,” Lang said. “Let’s not have another lost veteran.”

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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