The event in LaRose Digital Theatre in the Koury Business Center offered a chance to say thank you to veterans who are part of the Elon community.
A gathering in Koury Business Center Friday offered an opportunity to mark Veterans Day and pay tribute to the years of service across all branches of the military by members of the Elon Community.
Veterans stood and proudly stated their service branch and years of service, as did family members of veterans during the Veterans Day Observance, an annual event that offers the university an opportunity to say thank you to those who served. They included veterans who served during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars, with some serving for a few years and others serving for decades.
"We wouldn't be here today without everything you do for this country," said Isabella Ponterio '20, president of Team HERO, a student-run veteran and military support organization.
Organizer Bill Burpitt, himself a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army, explained that so many veterans have great humility and modesty about the time they spent in the military and the things they accomplished while serving. "They are ordinary people, and yet at the same time, they are extraordinary people who gave up some of the most vital years of their lives to serve this country," said Burpitt, professor of management.
A video presentation offered the opportunity for veterans who now work for Elon to talk about what their military service has meant to them. Many commented on how it broaden their perspectives as they served around the world, or instilled a sense of discipline into their personal and professional lives.
Burpitt said some lament what they see as a widening gap between the general public and the military, though it remains important for those connections to hold as a society. "I think ceremonies like this show how that connection holds," Burpitt said. "It keeps those threads from snapping."
The event opened and closed with the posting and retrieval of the colors by Elon ROTC.