Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Ceremonies at Vol State

There were two major events for Veterans Day on the Vol State campus in Gallatin. The first was an annual luncheon, honoring student veterans and all who have served in the military. Torrey Zimmerman, president of the Student Veterans of America chapter at Vol State, spoke about a symbolic POW/MIA table display on one side of the room. The empty place setting and each item on the table hold meaning to help us better remember the sacrifice those military members and their families have made, and to show that POWs and MIAs are not forgotten.

Joe Shakeenab gave a rousing speech as the keynote speaker. The U.S. Army Ranger and 5th Special Forces veteran asked a question of the veterans in the room: "What is the next mission? You don't just serve, serve and serve and then turn it off." He encouraged vets to look forward to their next job in life, whether it be supporting young military members or older vets. Shakeenab has led the Fifth Special Forces Foreign Language Program at Fort. Campbell. He told of his path from learning Arabic to coordinating language services for the entire 5th Special Forces.

Several student veterans were honored for their service to the country and their work as students at Vol State: Christoper Allgood, Chris Argo, Cody Cross, Justin Endres, Allen Harris, Bradley Jackson, Jeremy Vaughn and Torrey Zimmerman.

A short time later, the College Republicans and the Student Veterans of America held an event on the front lawn of the college, where they have placed 6,718 flags, one for each of the 6,718 military members who have lost their lives in combat since 9/11. Congressman Diane Black, State Representative William Lamberth, and Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown were among the speakers. It was quite moving to hear the remarks and then look back to once again comprehend the meaning of the flags placed on the lawn and what the loss of a family member has meant to so many American families over the years.

We thank all veterans for their service and especially the students, faculty and staff veterans at Vol State on all of its campuses.

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