APU Honors Veterans

by Shannon Linton '07

APU's Office of Alumni Relations and Department of Veterans Affairs co-sponsored the 7th annual Veterans Day Luncheon on Monday, November 12. Attended by veterans who served as far back as World War II, the luncheon offered participants the opportunity to honor military service men and women, and to remember those who gave their lives for this nation.

The luncheon began with APU Army ROTC students forming the honor guard, while senior music major Elise Egigian sang the national anthem. After a brief prayer, attendees watched a video clip of former President Ronald Reagan explaining the significance of Veterans Day. "Those who gave all gave two lives, the one they lived, and the one they would have lived as husbands, fathers, and grandfathers," Reagan said in the clip.

Veterans present were then given the opportunity to each share which branch of the military they served in, including the years of their service. Several in attendance had served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The program continued with the fight songs for each branch of the military. Attendees raised their voices long and loud, showing pride for the branch in which they served.

After lunch, Egigian sang "America the Beautiful," and thanked veterans for their sacrifice as a representative of her generation. Next, featured speaker, and parent of two APU alumni, Chaplain Lt Col. Steve O'Brien of the U.S. Air Force addressed the audience at the close of the program. As a chaplain for the U.S. military, meeting and making connections with religious leaders is one of O'Brien's primary responsibilities during deployment. He shared with attendees several things he learned during his recent time spent in Djbouti, Africa. He emphasized that "you don't have to wear a uniform to be a hero," sharing about numerous people he met in Djbouti who worked hard to make a difference in the lives of others. He also expressed his gratitude to fellow veterans.

"Today, I want to honor you and what you stand for," said O'Brien. "Thank you for taking a step forward when many would not."