‘Highest ideals of dedication and sacrifice’; Veterans are remembered throughout Blue Hen Veterans’ week of commemoration
The armistice for World War I on the “eleventh day of the eleventh hour of the eleventh month,” began one hundred years ago. Throughout the world, it was commemorated Sunday as either Veterans or Armistice Day.
Memorials to the fallen could be seen with events throughout the weekend, including the Delaware Memorial Bridge Ceremony on Sunday morning. This past week also featured the Blue Hens Veterans’ (BHV) Veterans Week.
Blue Hen Veterans have been active in paying tribute this week by planting flags on The Green for each veteran who died after Sept. 11, 2001. Earlier this week, they cleaned gravestones at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery. The group also hosted a commemoration ceremony this past Friday in front of Memorial Hall. The university dedicated Memorial Hall in 1923 to remember 270 Delawareans who lost their lives during World War I, as mentioned by President Dennis Assanis during the event.
“Whether serving in war or peace, at home or abroad, veterans embody our highest ideals of dedication and sacrifice,” Assanis said. “We are sincerely grateful for their deep and enduring contributions for our nation.”
The ceremony also featured Delaware State Sen. Anthony Delcollo and Chief Chaplain of the Delaware Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Kenneth E. Brandt.
Delcollo highlighted how President Eisenhower changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to remember the sacrifice of all soldiers who have served.
“Veterans are heroes who face incredible challenges, who are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to protect and defend our ability,” Delcollo said. “My ability to serve, to have votes cast for me, all of you to have autonomy and decide your future is in no small part due to the sacrifice of our veterans over the years.”
Brandt told a story about four chaplains of all different sects on the U.S.S. Dorchester, “who locked arms in prayer,” as they went down with the ship after it was hit with a torpedo during World War II. The chaplains gave their life jackets to fellow sailors, as they were willing to serve them in life and death.
“The country we live in is a precious country,” Brandt said. “We have our warts, we have our freckles, when we have our tweets, and everything that goes with that. We have a country we love that people wear the uniform for and are willing to die for.
“I am so thankful, and I am proud to wear this uniform, to serve you the citizens of this country, and you the citizens of this state. Because I love what our country stands for and what it offers.”
Many of volunteers, ROTC cadets and members of BHV made such events happen during the past week by giving their time to honor those who have fought for the nation both past and present.
“We have seen a growth in our activities and have a lot of members coming out and volunteering for events like this,” Chris Dale, vice president of BHV, said.
Through the past few years, the group has been instrumental in helping veterans to socialize and acclimate with students through meetings and different events on campus. Because of this, Dale said the group has been “looking to expand for a larger space,” from a small room in Perkins Student Center.
“It’s not like we don’t get along with younger students, we can’t really relate to other students for a lot reasons,” Dale said. “Because a majority of veterans are older, some of us are already married, have kids. You have a 18-19-year-old then you have a 27-28-year-old, it’s kind of hard to socialize in that aspect.”
One of those events, the Veterans & Friends Ball, took place this Saturday evening in order to help fundraise for the Blue Hen Veterans & Friends group. Funds raised are to help the group participate in events like the Face of America bike ride.
Organized by World T.E.A.M. Sports, the event is a two-day, 110-mile ride from the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. to the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania. With participants ranging from civilians to active and retired military including, adaptive veterans.
Veterans Day for students involved with BHV and soldiers in the reserves like Dale said that the day is more about those who have served before him.
“I do feel a sense of importance for myself, but more so to those who have laid the path before me and veterans I see,” Dale said. “I see it more as a way of not only congratulating but celebrating their successes and sacrifices for our country.”