More than 250 sixth graders from Pittsburg schools joined veterans and their families at the PSU Veterans Memorial on Nov. 11 for a Veterans Day observance that focused on "Lessons of Service."
Josh Shay, himself a veteran and currently the director of annual giving at Pittsburg State University, was the master of ceremonies for the event, which included patriotic music by the Pittsburg Community Middle School choirs, lessons about flag etiquette and even some history.
PSU President Steve Scott told the crowd that including youngsters in the observance made it different from many that were taking place across the U.S.
"Veterans, we thank you for sharing this day with these young people. Your example is a powerful lesson for a generation who will soon be entrusted with the most precious gift we can give to them," Scott said.
Keynote speaker Tom Vacca, a Pittsburg fireman and a staff sergeant in the Army Reserves, told the crowd that there was nothing he could tell them about service that the 3,147 engraved pavers in the memorial couldn't say more powerfully than he.
"Each stone tells its own unique story," Vacca said. "Together they tell the incredible story of generation after generation of men and women who have been willing to leave their homes and families in order to serve an enduring ideal."
Vacca said none of the people represented by the memorial's pavers considered themselves heroes. They just did the jobs that needed to be done.
"You may know them as Mom or Dad, Grandfather or Grandmother, Brother, Sister, Son or Daughter. You should be proud of them," Vacca said.
An addition to this year's ceremony was the administration of the oath of allegiance by PSU Military Science Department Chairman Maj. Chris Lambert to five new contracting cadets.
The event concluded with the recognition of 17 veterans who have recently had pavers installed in their names and finally, the recognition of all veterans, who stood as their service anthems were played.
The PSU Veterans Memorial is located at 1909 S. Rouse. It is open 365 days a year. For information about the memorial, contact the Office of University Advancement at 620-235-4762. For information about purchasing pavers, contact the Office of Development at 620-235-4768.
©2011 Pittsburg State University