November 12, 2013 6:00AM
Army chaplains and their special form of service and sacrifice were among the veterans recognized at Pittsburg State University’s annual Veterans Day observance on Monday.
In his remarks, PSU President Steve Scott noted the bravery and self-sacrifice of native Kansan Emil Kapaun in a POW camp in Korea. Fr. Kapaun, an Army chaplain, received the Congressional Medal of Honor earlier this year in recognition of his actions and a new paver noting that honor has been installed at the memorial.
The keynote speaker, Cpt. Jonathon Johnson, himself a chaplain, also talked about Chaplain Kapaun’s actions and how he “lived out the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.”
Johnson urged everyone to strive to live out those same values in their own lives.
“It's as simple as helping a neighbor, listening to someone when they need us to lend an ear or taking the time to help someone with the simplest need,” he said.
President Scott, told the crowd that the Veterans Memorial is a special place that holds many lessons for visitors.
“Each element of the design of the memorial was intended to convey powerful messages,” Scott said. “Every name etched in the black granite behind us has a story to tell, as does each name engraved on the 3,241 pavers that fill this amphitheater and now spread out on the plaza above.”
Scott said it was important to take those lessons of service and sacrifice and apply them to our own lives.
“We must learn that service and sacrifice take many forms and are as different as the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States military,” Scott said. “We must learn, too, that the freedom we all enjoy does not come without a price and that once earned, it is up to each subsequent generation to protect and nurture it.”
The president and Cpt. Johnson also acknowledged that the newest paver dedicated Monday was for a member of the PSU family, Sgt. 1st class Forrest Robertson, a former military science instructor at PSU, who was killed in Afghanistan a little more than a week ago.
“Sgt. ‘Rob’ lived out those Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage,” Johnson said.
For information about purchasing pavers in the PSU Veterans Memorial, call the Office of Development at 620-235-4768 or visit www.psuvetmemorial.org.