Proudly Saluting Our Veterans

by Sean Fitzpatrick '04

To recognize and celebrate the military men and women serving the United States, APU's Office of Alumni and Parent Relations hosted a Veteran's Day Luncheon on Tuesday, November 11. The luncheon took place in the Los Angeles Pacific College (LAPC) Banquet Room to honor APU faculty, staff, alumni, and students who have, or are currently, serving in the military. The event began with the presentation of the colors by Reserved Officers Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) volunteers from APU and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

After the performance of "The Star Spangled Banner," Rick Givens, M.Div., associate director of the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and a chaplain and major in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, asked all of the participants to introduce themselves, state their rank, and tell where they served. Dozens of veterans listed off places of service around the globe.

When everyone had introduced themselves, Vic Bezjian, MIBA, executive director of APU's [International Center] (/international/) and member of the U.S. Air Force, spoke about his recent experiences in Djibouti, a country in eastern Africa. One of the topics Bezjian tackled was the issue of being a Christian and serving in the military. "A lot of people ask me how I can be a Christian and be in the military," Bezjian commented. "I say to them, how can you not be?"

APU President Jon R. Wallace’s, DBA, also spoke at the luncheon, expressing his gratitude for the sacrafices made by members of the APU community who have chosen to serve our country.

Chaplain Gordon Ritchie of the U.S. Navy served as the guest speaker for the luncheon. Ritchie - a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana - recently returned from deployment in Iraq, and was this year's candidate for Chaplain of the Year in the U.S. Navy 2nd Division.

The chance to meet with fellow veterans reminded attendees of the great importance of their service and sacrifice in fighting for safety and freedom.

If you are a member of the APU community (faculty, staff, student, alumni) serving in the military or with veteran status, please contact Rick Givens at rgivens@apu.edu so he may add you to APU's records.