Last Monday the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point held a remembrance ceremony in honor of war veterans and Veterans Day.
The remembrance ceremony opened with the presenting of flags, carried by four men currently serving in the Army, followed by brief speeches from Chancellor Bernie Patterson, Teresa Barta, an associate professor of biology at UWSP, and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Al Thompson. There was a moment of silence in honor of two UWSP student veterans who have passed away, Michael Zuelsdorff and Bradley Tedding. After the moment of silence taps was played in honor of these individuals.
About 50 people—a mix of veterans, their families, and students and faculty—who wished to show their support attended the event.
“This is about our students and their recent service, how we can help them succeed in civilian life. I am just glad to see the big turnout. Every year we look to make it larger,” Patterson said.
“It means quite a bit to me that people would take time out of their busy schedules to celebrate the things that veterans bring to this campus. And this is just another outpouring of that concern and care that the university has,” said Michael Butcher, a retired first Sergeant and recent graduate of UWSP.
Barta spoke about her appreciation for veterans in her classroom and how Americans must never forget the freedoms that veterans protect.
“It is an honor to have been asked to speak today and to have the privilege of being able to publically say thank you to our veterans, not just for what you have done during your time of active military service, but for what you are continuing to do in your community and nation,” Barta said. “Most of all we need to get to know our veterans, whether it is a returning veteran in your class, or a WWII veteran in a nursing home. We need to get to know them.”
All veteran students were offered a free meal on the night of the ceremony, compliments of University Dining Services. Some of the events they were offered free tickets to included theater and dance productions, Centertainment programs, and a few sporting events.
“These are just small examples of what we do. But we must do more. Looking at all the services that we provide for our students when they come back we need to be there for them; not just for a few days but for months and years to come. We must continue our efforts to support veterans who are students, but also those who served who served in previous engagements. We must always be there for them,” Thompson said.
One theme that ran throughout all three speeches was that citizens must never take for granted the freedom they enjoy and should not forget those currently serving overseas.
“I will leave you with this one parting thought. Freedom is not free. Freedom is not free,” Patterson said.