On Wednesday the city of Jacksonville and JSU held their first Veterans Day ceremony in the Pete Mathews Coliseum. It was organized by the JSU Research Center for Veteran Support Services.
Lt. Col. David Wood was the Master of Ceremonies, and introduced Mayor Johnny Smith, who welcomed the crowd of students, teachers, community members and local veterans.
“So many have sacrificed so much so that you and I can enjoy the liberties we have in this country. The United States of America is the land of the free, because it is the home of so many brave Americans,” Smith said.
The JSU ROTC Color Guard presented and posted the colors. It was followed by the “Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by the JSU Band Ensemble and directed by Dr. Ken Bodiford.
Retired U.S. Army Chaplain and JSU alumni Dr. Tom Smith gave the invocation, and then the JSU Band Ensemble performed the Armed Forces Salute.
Congressman Mike Rogers, a former student of JSU, presented an American flag to President John Beehler. According to Rodgers, the flag was flown at the capitol in Washington D.C.
President Beehler welcomed the veterans, and invited them to participate in a special Military Appreciation Day Saturday on campus. The special guest speaker of the event was Col. Martine Kidd, commander of the Anniston Army Depot. Kidd spoke about veterans and what it means to be a U.S. soldier.
“Our veterans are really a special group,” said Kidd as she stood behind the podium looking out at the crowd. “They have fought and sacrificed, struggled and endured, and in some cases given their own lives so that people like you and I can enjoy the blessings of freedom.”
“Looking around there is absolutely no doubt that the university is dedicated to securing a place for veterans and their family members to find both educational and other support services that they need,” Kidd said as she spoke about a federal grant that JSU had received for establishing a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success.
Beneath her bifocals, which Kidd said remind her that she is a veteran each day, she spoke about military service and America.
After Kidd spoke, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Rebecca O. Turner, encouraged veterans and veteran students to take advantage of the federal grant by participating in veteran’s programs across campus.
The ceremony ended with “God Bless America” and the retiring of the National Colors, followed by Lt. Col. Wood thanking the attendees.