Military Student Services holds Veterans Day ceremony


Jerry Burnes, Northern Star-Joann Garcia Hunter, Air Force Staff Sergeant, takes part in a reenlistment ceremony Friday afternoon. Hunter’s ceremony, typically done informally, closed out the NIU Veterans Day event outside of Altgeld Hall.

By Hailey Kurth

Veterans, soldiers and supporters gathered Friday for NIU’s Veterans Day ceremony held by the NIU Military Student Services in front of the flagpole by Altgeld Hall.

“Today we celebrate our most noble tradition of fighting for freedom,” said Clay Campbell, DeKalb County State’s Attorney, in his speech. “Throughout our history, we have been blessed with citizens that come forward in our hour of need to give their lives to secure our liberty. When our nation called, it was they who answered. When our nation was threatened, it was their blood that was spilled.”

Todd Latham from the NIU Veterans Club began the ceremony. Latham spoke about NIU’s enrolled veterans and soldiers.

“These students arrive on our campus as world travelers, matured with knowledge,” Latham said during his speech. “They’re equipped with experiences beyond our average student. We must engage them, encourage them and help them as they transition from soldier to student.”

During the Posting of the Colors and the National Anthem, sung by U.S. Navy veteran Jon Lehuta, members of the audience removed their caps and sang along.

Lt. Col. David Dosier from NIU Huskie Battalion was the guest speaker of the ceremony. In his speech, he spoke about the sacrifices soldiers face each day.

“This life we enjoy was purchased at a high cost on the backs of the best America has to offer,” Dosier said.

Campbell was the keynote speaker as he is also a veteran and grandson and son of a veteran. He is also an alumni of NIU’s College of Law.

“It surely goes without saying that no words can truly express our nation’s gratitude to those who sacrifice. Today we celebrate,” Campbell said.

At the end of the ceremony, NIU post-vet student Joann Garcia-Hunter was re-enlisted. This is something the public doesn’t usually get to see. After soldiers finish their years of service, they have the decision to re-enlist or leave, Garcia-Hunter said.

“[Re-enlisting during the ceremony] kind of all happened by accident, because where I’m stationed is at Dover air force base in Delaware,” Garcia-Hunter said. “With school going on and stuff, I asked if I could re-enlist with the ROTC group here. Someone brought up the idea of doing it here.”

Garcia-Hunter already has a bachelor’s degree and is taking the requisite classes to apply for physical therapy graduate school.

Andrew Crum, senior political science major and U.S. Army soldier, said he thought it was a great ceremony. This was his fourth time attending it, but first time not being a part of it.

“It’s a fantastic ceremony. NIU does an amazing job every year putting on this great thing for the veterans,” Crum said.