Shippensburg University’s ROTC battalion hosted its annual Veteran’s Day ceremony on Friday, honoring those who have served in the U.S. military and raising awareness of the affect American support has on soldiers serving overseas.
The ceremony began at 11 a.m. in the Ceddia Union Building’s Airport Lounge with opening remarks by Army ROTC Cadet Nathan Marks and a prayer by Cadet Michael Ochoa. Following the prayer, the audience stood in unison as the national anthem began to play.
For the second subsequent year, the ceremony’s featured speaker was Lt. Christopher Morton, an SU professor of military science.
“Last year when I had the opportunity to speak to the Shippensburg community about Veteran’s Day, I had only been on the job [for] a few months,” Morton said.
Morton began a new tradition this year of honoring local military veterans in an attempt to combat the misconceptions that veterans struggle to find success after leaving the military.
“There’s a misconception that veterans are broken,” Morton said. “Today I start a tradition [to show] that veterans can come back strong.”
Morton acknowledged retired Cmdr. James Greenburg, political science professor at SU for his service in the U.S. Navy. During his career, Greenburg completed deployments in the Western Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, Arabian Gulf, as well as the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Black seas. He graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1995, and previously served as a faculty member at the U.S. Army War College.
The day the U.S. designates to honor veterans, Nov. 11, is no accident, according to Morton. Veteran’s Day, originally called “Armistice Day,” was declared a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson on the first anniversary of Nov. 11, 1919 — the day that World War I came to an end.
The date is also significant because of its juxtaposition to Election Day, according to Morton.
“At times when people find themselves at opposite sides of the political spectrum, they then come together in unity to honor veterans,” Morton said.
Morton guided the audience’s attention to a photo on display to his left of the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains in Asia.
He proceeded to tell the story of a group of American soldiers whose job it was to serve as a rescue team to soldiers on patrol in the mountains, either by delivering supplies or assisting with helicopter breakdowns.
The rescue team received the nickname “Pathfinders” because the mountains do not have any kind of road system, making it sometimes difficult to locate soldiers within the foothills.
Morton said he and his soldiers were able to better focus on their own assignments knowing that the Pathfinders were nearby if anything went wrong.
“You are America’s Pathfinders. Soldiers are able to be deployed over there because they know they have your support over here,” Morton said.
At the end of the ceremony, the audience stood and joined in singing “The Army Goes Rolling Along,” signifying a sense of unity between Americans and past and present members of the military.