(WITH SLIDESHOW AND VIDEO) – When veteran alumni were asked to stand for recognition, a young man in a black sweatshirt proudly stood with nearly 20 others at the Veterans Day ceremony held at Wrather West Kentucky Museum.
That man, alumnus Adam Horton, is a five-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who enrolled at Murray State three months after he left the Navy in 2010.
While serving in the Navy, he was deployed overseas on the USS John C. Stennis, an aircraft carrier, and spent time supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“The nice thing about an aircraft carrier is that it travels all over the place,” Horton said. “We hit 26 different countries.”
Horton encourages Americans to learn as much as they can from veterans while they have the chance.
“We all have the same starting point,” He said. “We all went to boot camp, signed the same contract and took the same oath, but all our stories are different.”
He said all veterans signed up for the same thing and put their lives on the line for the same purpose and that this is the most important underlying factor of Veterans Day.
Horton said he thinks there is a common misunderstanding and disconnect between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“Memorial Day is for soldiers, veterans, sailors, airmen – whoever has served, but have fallen while serving,” he said. “Veterans Day is a day to remember them as well, but it’s also a day to remember those who you served with.”
Horton said on Veterans Day he gets back in contact with the men and women he served with, whether it be in an email, on the phone or meeting for lunch.
“Restaurants, such as Applebee’s, have free meals for veterans on Veterans Day and when you go to those events, you always see veterans in groups,” he said. “No one eats alone.”
President Bob Davies said the ceremony was an outstanding tribute to an important part of Murray State’s population.
“To me, Veterans Day is a reflection of the military and the protection of our freedom,” Davies said. “We live in a country and work at a University where we encourage debate. At a lot of countries and universities, you can’t debate.”
Alison Marshall, veteran and adult student liaison, has been at Murray State since February 2010. Marshall said the Veterans Day ceremony is a tradition at Murray State in addition to a veterans football game and a cook out.
“We try to do a little something different each year,” she said.
Marshall said she was excited the University was able to have events and programs for veteran students, faculty and staff.
“The veteran population is special; they should be recognized and honored,” she said.
Veteran servicemen and women make up approximately 4 percent of the student population, about 400 students.
The Murray State Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Color Guard presented the colors at the ceremony and said Veterans Day was a time to reflect and remember their fellow soldiers who have paved the way for them to be where they are today.
The guard said everything that they are doing was because of them. The guard’s advice was to remember to talk to veterans about what they sacrificed for this country and remember those who have made the final sacrifice.
Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, Staff writer
– Video produced by Cameron Witte