Campus Pauses to Remember Veterans, Sacrifice Made for Freedom
The Emory & Henry College community paused with the nation today to honor the nearly 3 million military veterans who have served their country. You can see pictures from the Veterans Day program on the college’s Facebook page.
Current student and retired Marine Robert Fleig spoke to a crowd of E&H students and members of the college faculty and staff about the importance of honoring those who have defended their country.
“I feel that we are losing that respect for our veterans,” Fleig told the crowd. “Many don’t know about the extraordinary effort put out by those who wear the uniform, and an event like today’s helps inform them.”
Fleig entered the Marine Corp when he was 19 years old and retired in 2001 as a Marine Corp gunnery sergant.
Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day -- a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans -- living or dead -- but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
"There are two very special military days for me and they are back to back," Fleig said. "Yesterday was the birthday of the Marines and today is Veterans Day."
The Veterans Day ceremony was held at the E&H Alumni Plaza, which pays tribute to distinguished alumni who have made a difference in the world. Two of the four individuals honored on its wall, Harley Staggers and Frank Rowlett, played important roles during World War II.
Staggers was a member of the Navy Air Corps from 1942 to 1946 and was later elected to represent West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1948. Rowlett served as a central figure in the solving of the Japanese code and cipher communications before and during the war.