VIDEO: UC Veterans Ceremony Introduces UC's 'Salute to Service'
Major General John W. Peabody, guest speaker at the ceremony, also hails UC’s ROTC cadets as the next ‘Greatest Generation.’
Date: 11/12/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover (Video by Jay Yocis)
Visiting veterans, distinguished guests, more than 150 UC ROTC cadets, members of the UC community and the Bearcat Band packed McMicken Commons on Nov. 12 for the University of Cincinnati’s annual ceremony to pay tribute to the sacrifices and service of the nation’s veterans.
UC President Gregory H. Williams led the ceremony, which highlighted efforts for UC to become the preeminent destination for post 9-11 veterans pursuing a higher education. Support services include the creation of a new position to assist veterans in UC’s Transfer and Lifelong Learning Center. He also announced UC’s new ‘Salute to Service’ initiative to build scholarship and support services for veterans and ROTC cadets studying at UC.
Major General John W. Peabody – commander and division engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division – was guest speaker at the ceremony.
“America’s veterans, more than any other profession – through their sacrifices, their professional commitment and warrior spirit – have taken the idea of a free nation and turned it into a reality. I contend that America’s armed services are the greatest force of good in the world today,” Peabody said.
“….America’s true strength emanates from the extraordinary commitment by ordinary Americans to serve something bigger than themselves: the ideal that freedom is a reality worthy of their most dedicated efforts, and for which they are willing to bear any burden, make any sacrifice, sustain any hardship, in defense of our liberties.
“On Veterans Day we not only honor the past however, but we look to future generations. Today’s ROTC cadets and the young troops they will soon lead in combat are truly the next ‘Greatest Generation,’” continued Peabody. “They have volunteered to join the armed forces despite the fact that they know we are at war and they will personally go into harm’s way soon.
|Major General John W. Peabody |
“These young people understand that we are operating in an era of persistent conflict, against an adaptive enemy who is fueled by extremist ideology bent on our destruction and opposed to the very idea of freedom that our nation stands for.
“Despite all the sacrifices and loss, our warrior ethos remains at the heart of every member of the armed services and every veteran. We will always place the mission first, we will never accept defeat, we will never quit and we will never leave a fallen comrade,” said Peabody.
Peabody encouraged audience members to find and thank a veteran who had attended the ceremony. “They have given so much of themselves to make this nation strong, and they leave us a legacy of freedom for which we can all be proud.”
|UC President Gregory H. Williams|
A veteran representing all of those who served in the following conflicts was recognized at the ceremony: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom (both conflicts represented by UC ROTC cadets), Operation Desert Storm, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and World War II. President Williams presented the veterans with a certificate that read, “In recognition of valuable contributions and your distinguished military service to your country.”
The following veterans represented the past conflicts
- UC ROTC Army Cadet Kadair Gleen, a 23-year-old political science major, served in Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2006 through April 2007, primarily in the Horn of Africa, and was awarded the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Meritorious Mast, and the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon. He will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 2011. Gleen plans to pursue a career in military service, with the goal of becoming an officer in intelligence.
- UC ROTC Cadet Ashley Fuqua, a sophomore biology major, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from January through September in 2005. Fuqua was awarded the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal. The Glen Este High School graduate served with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and was a member of its Combat Logistics Battalion. Through his enrollment in UC’s Army ROTC program, he will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 2012.
- Retired Colonel Joe Johnston represented all Gulf War veterans at the ceremony. He had a career in the U.S. Army that spanned 28 years. He currently serves the Disabled American Veterans as National Junior Vice Commander and has been inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
- Eugene Smith represented all veterans who served in the Vietnam War. He joined the U.S. Army in 1996 and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division after initial training. His service in Vietnam resulted in the Purple Heart for combat action in 1967.
- David Evans served with the 1st Marine Regiment in the Korean War. The Athens, Ohio native was wounded in hand-to-hand combat. His awards include the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.
- World War II veteran Richard Kerin served in the Pacific Theater, was wounded in action on Bougainville and received the Purple Heart. His service in the invasion of Iwo Jima earned the Silver Star for heroism and his second Purple Heart. The Mt. Vernon, Ohio, native served in the Marines and later coached high school football for 34 years. In 1986, he was inducted into the Ohio Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
Major General Peabody honored all veterans attending the ceremony with a special UC commemorative coin. The veterans ceremony was sponsored by UC’s Air Force and Army ROTC, the Office of the UC Senior Vice President and Provost, UC Student Government, MainStreet, the UC Foundation, and UC Governmental Relations and University Communications.
The observance featured military marches by the UC Bearcat Band. As part of its UC tradition, the ceremony closed with a presentation of the colors and “Taps,” played by Bearcat Band members and buglers Jeff Cole and Christian Schuster, who were stationed in the towers of TUC and McMicken Hall.
Also present at the ceremony were U.S. Congressman Steve Driehaus, Cincinnati Fire Chief Robert Wright, representatives of Ohio’s state government and the Cincinnati Police Mounted Patrol.