Kean University held a moving Veterans Day service outside the Miron Student Center at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 at which students, faculty, staff and guests paid homage to the service and sacrifice of United States military veterans, especially the many veterans who enrich the University’s diverse community. The ceremony, part of the University’s National Veterans Awareness Week events, included a moment of silence for all veterans, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as well as a processional, presentation of colors and a wreath-laying ceremony.
"Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title of 'veteran,' and far less than one percent of our population is currently defending us in the Global War on Terrorism," said student-veteran Elio Bustamante, U.S. Marines, who served as the master of ceremonies. It is important to remember veterans, who defend our freedoms 365 days a year, not just on Veterans Day, but every day."
Tom Walsh, associate professor for Kean's Department of Middle and Secondary Education who served as a Naval Officer from 1975-1986, also spoke of the importance of honoring our veterans.
"Today, we honor the Veterans among us: the veterans of such recent conflicts as the Koran War, the Vietnam War, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many other smaller conflicts. These men and women are not at all different from the veterans of those conflicts of our nation's history, and they certainly are as patriotic. We all enjoy the liberty our veterans fought so valiantly to achieve for our country," said Walsh. "We should always take the opportunity to thank veterans, to support organizations that actively help and patronize companies who hire veterans and, if you are in a position to hire, hire a vet.
Shane Smith, assistant professor for Kean's School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences and veteran Marine, shared some of his post-war reflections.
"I gained lifelong friends in the military. I learned so much while serving in Central America and Africa about the local culture and history that opened my eyes to every experience I have had since," said Smith. "My time in service also gave me the confidence to know I can make it through very difficult times because I've already made it through very difficult times."
Bracketing the speakers were poignant renditions of the Amazing Grace, The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America by guest singer Yayris Javier.
ABOUT KEAN UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, boasting a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers three doctorate degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer 49 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. With campuses in Union and Toms River, NJ, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University provides a world-class education. Visit Kean online at www.kean.edu.