Elon remembrance ceremony honors military veterans

Veterans from different branches of the U.S. military stood together and were recognized during a Nov. 11 program that saluted their service.

World War II veteran and Elon Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Paul Cheek stands to be recognized at Monday's Veterans Day Remembrance.
In what is fast becoming a special campus tradition, the Elon community gathered on Monday morning to express gratitude for the men and women who dedicated themselves to serving America in the military.

For the second year running, the LaRose Digital Theatre hosted a Veterans Day Remembrance ceremony where students, faculty and staff paused to thank and remember those who have worn their country’s uniform.

Led by Professor Matt Valle, a veteran of the United States Air Force, and a team of student volunteers, the event featured brief remarks, a prayer, a video tribute and a roll call of retired and current personnel from the armed forces and the National Guard. More than a dozen current Elon employees stood to be honored as they quickly detailed their military service for the assembled crowd. The program also allowed attendees to recognize their own veterans.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Professor Matt Valle worked with a team of students to organize Monday's event.
Elon University junior and Army Staff Sergeant James Shore offered the opening remarks for the event. Shore served four years of active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division, including yearlong tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s currently a medic instructor for the North Carolina Army National Guard.

“Veterans Day is an extremely special day in my heart,” Shore said. “This is a day of celebration of simple American values and patriotism. Perhaps in no other country will you find the support and appreciation we veterans get. … Our nation has certainly come a long way in recognizing what has been sacrificed for all.”

The Winston-Salem, N.C., native explained why he felt privileged to serve the United States in uniform.

“Veterans Day reminds us of what is so special about service to this great nation,” the exercise science major said. “It’s the great experience we all gained at some point or another – whether it was firing a rifle for the first time, being exhausted with 80 pounds on your back, flying in a high-performance aircraft or jumping out of that same plane. We were all endowed with experience that helped us to learn how to lead, show our resolve and dedication and cherish the little things in life that fill us all with happiness.”

And while the people who attended did so to show their appreciation for veterans like Shore, he too expressed thanks for those who served along with him.

“Veterans Day is a tribute to all those brothers and sisters that I love and respect,” he said. “It is because of all [those] that I served with in uniform that my military experience has been so special. … I am blessed to have served with all those who have ever been in uniform and especially the paratroopers I was with during my time.”

Elon has played a role in developing leaders for the American armed forces dating to the school’s earliest years when 35 percent of the Elon College Class of 1918 volunteered to serve in the first World War. The institution also served a pivotal role in training pilots for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and the institution welcomed returning soldiers that swelled enrollment and permanently guaranteed the college’s financial stability.

Alumni Memorial Gymnasium recognizes alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, and today a robust ROTC program sends university graduates into the military each spring as commissioned officers.