Display honors fallen soldiers from Texas
19 honored Aggies second-most among universities
Published: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, November 3, 2013 21:11
They are brothers, sisters, daughters, sons and friends. They are U.S. veterans, and for those who visit the Memorial Student Center this week, their service is not to be forgotten.
The Defenders of Freedom — in conjunction with The Veteran Resource and Support Center — have set up the “Remembering Our Fallen From Texas” display in the MSC to honor soldiers from Texas.
The display shows the pictures and faces of soldiers along with personal items or statistics surrounding U.S. military action of the last 12 years. Among those whose faces don the MSC halls, 19 were Aggies — the second most displayed from a single campus, trailing only West Point.
The indoor traveling display was set up with the help of six A&M students, MSC staff and those who brought the display to A&M.
An official opening ceremony for the display was held Friday in the MSC Flag Room. The ceremony was the first of 22 veteran-centered events that will occur over the next week at A&M.
The ceremony welcomed Donna Cranston, executive director and founder of Defenders of Freedom, along with four other guest speakers.
“The goal is that no one forgets that our freedoms are not free,” Cranston said. “It comes at a very high price, not only from those who gave their lives but also from the families and friends of those soldiers.”
The Texas A&M Singing Cadets opened the ceremony and were followed by Col. Jerry Smith, Veteran Resource and Support Center director, who welcomed the guest speakers and onlookers.
One guest speaker, Lt. Gen. Joe Weber, Texas A&M vice president for Student Affairs, said people in the U.S. have an inclination to forget, but said he hopes we will never forget our veterans.
“I guess I would tell you that this country has earned its right to be war-weary after 10 years, but I pray to God every night that this country doesn’t ever become veteran-weary,” Weber said.
John Ernest, senior international studies major and Texas A&M Veteran Association president, said one of the fears held by family members of fallen soldiers is that their loved ones are forgotten. He beseeched that those who pass by the display this week stop and remember.
“One of the fears that family members have is their loved ones being forgotten after they made that ultimate sacrifice,” Ernest said. “So do the great honor and remember them. Please walk in that hallway, pick a soldier’s name and remember them.”
The ceremony concluded with the Texas A&M Singing Cadets leading bystanders and attendees in “God Bless America.” The display will be in the MSC until Friday and is sponsored by Detrick Eaton and 99Tutors.