More than 100 people on campus stopped their day-to-day activities on Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the nation’s armed forces.
“We as Americans chose this day as a time to honor those men and women who gave their lives to protect this nation when those who hate freedom would destroy our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said keynote speaker William Brown.
Brown works in the Department of Veteran Affairs, Readjustment Counseling Services, in Oklahoma City.
For the third year in a row, Brown shared his thoughts and feelings about Veterans Day.
Brown served 28 and a half years in the U.S. Army.
His overseas assignments included 13 years in Germany, six years in Italy, and deployments in Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, and Afghanistan.
The ceremony included a performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the Chamber Singers, the college’s audition-only choir.
Later in the program, librarian Linda Boatright and voice instructor Christian Morren sang a stirring duet of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” that had people stopping in their tracks while walking by the union that day. It brought the crowd to their feet.
“The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was written by Julia Ward Howe and became popular during the American Civil War.
In attendance at the program was Darrel L. Blumer, a Navy veteran from 2003 to 2007 and a student at OCCC.
“I came to remember those who gave their lives, or part of their lives, to defend the country and support our interests and operations around the world,” Blumer said.
Blumer, from Topeka, Kan., said he joined the Navy to better his future and support his country after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
He also enlisted to see the oceans and travel the U.S.
His boot camp was in Great Lakes, Illinois. From there he was stationed in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
During his time in the Navy, Blumer said, he provided weather briefings to pilots on land and on aircraft carriers.
Originally he wanted to study meteorology when he joined the Navy, Blumer said.
But after seeing the beautiful environments of the U.S., he said he now wants to study turf management at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City and in Stillwater after he finishes his studies at OCCC.