A Day To Remember
Minutes after Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis was honored at funeral services at a packed Alumni Coliseum, the Eastern Kentucky University community paused to recognize the sacrifices of American soldiers at the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the University’s nearby Veterans Memorial.
Sixth District Congressman Andy Barr was the featured speaker.
“What you have done as veterans is secure freedom not just for the American people,” Barr said, “but you have projected the values of this country to every other human being on our planet.”
Barr noted that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
“May we never forget the eternal debt we own our veterans for the freedoms we enjoy today,” he said.
Noting that the college years include times to “reflect and be solemn,” EKU President Michael Benson said he would “never be the same person” after a recent visit to Omaha Beach on the coast of Normandy, France, site of a pivotal World War II invasion. Gesturing to a large contingent of EKU ROTC cadets on hand, he noted that many of the brave American soldiers that fateful day 51 years ago were roughly the same age.
“I’m grateful to be on a campus where we celebrate veterans every day,” Benson said.
More than 1,500 military-affiliated students and their dependents call EKU home, and the University has earned national recognition many times in recent years for all it does to help veterans achieve their educational dreams.
The ceremony also featured remarks from EKU Vets Club President Edmund Furphy; Dr. Eugene Palka, assistant vice president for student success at Eastern and a retired U.S. Army colonel; and Dr. Bryan Cole, director of the EKU Office of Military and Veterans Affairs and retired Army major. A moment of silence at 2 p.m. coincided with a national observance, members of Vietnam Veterans Association Post 1066 conducted a “Missing Man Ceremony,” and PFC Shelby Jones performed the national anthem.