Veterans Day ceremony honors past and present service members

Veterans Day ceremony honors past and present service members

The Syracuse community came together Monday to respect their veterans at Hendricks Chapel.
Published: November 12, 2019
Syracuse University 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony
Members of ROTC carry the Veterans Day wreath across the Hendricks Chapel's steps.

Hendricks Chapel was filled to the brim with students, faculty, and community members. Down the center aisle, the reflective gold symbol on a veteran’s shoulder caught the eye. The quintet of horns played a marching tune to welcome anyone and everyone. The air was filled with warmth and heart-felt joy.

The Office of Veteran and Military Affairs held their annual Veterans Day Ceremony to recognize the military and veterans. According to the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs, the celebration stems from when Chancellor William P. Tolley opened the university’s doors to veterans and military students in World War I. The mission was to create a space for them to get an education and build their lives away from the field. The university now prides itself on being ranked the top private institution for veterans by the Military Times.

Katy Quartaro, SU’s 2019 Tillman Scholar, opened the ceremony followed by the quintet’s performance of the national anthem. The main speakers carried the ceremony, including keynote speaker, former Marine Corps Sergeant Major Carlton Kent by informing the audience about the importance of Veterans Day and the presence of military on campus.

Syracuse University 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony
Members of ROTC close the ceremony with raising the American flag.

The Syracuse University Singers performed an angelic rendition of “America the Beautiful” during the middle of service. They left the audience in complete awe as they took the time to remember the ones they lost. The ROTC members stood in the back of the chapel and watched the emotions of the crowd.

Major Kent opened his speech with a little humor about the five branches of the military. He then shared stories about men and women who sacrificed their lives under fire to save their fellow men. He emphasized how the untold stories of these men and women are the best reason to give them the recognition and respect they deserve. He also responded to the negative perceptions of war and the military in the media.

“America is in great shape,” he said.

Syracuse University 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony
Former Marine Corps Sergeant Major Carlton Kent gives an inspiring speech paying gratitude to all veterans.

The main motive of the ceremony was to identify the presence of military and veterans on campus, while emphasizing the work they have done for the country. James Hopkins, Director of IT Services, Vietnam veteran, and speaker was happy to be a part of such an uplifting event, which he has attended for several years.

“I just feel that affinity with other veterans and when I can come here and just talk about the positive things and the sacrifices…,” he said. “It just makes me happy.”

The ceremony closed with a call of the branches of the military. The crowd loudly applauded and the veterans stood tall. The proud moment created laughs and cries and brought the public together. David Frisco, an Air Force veteran, was happy to be honored as he wore his bright camouflage hat with orange lettering stating he is proud to be a veteran.

“I know I am supposed to do things to lead America to a happy new world,” he said.