Veterans Honored During Seventh Annual Ceremony

By Randy Lertdarapong

Web Editor

ESU honors veterans at Hoeffner Science and Technology Center on Nov. 10 by holdng a grandeur ceremony to pay respects to those who have made a sacrifice to fight for our nation.

“It’s going to be spectacular. There’s going to be an honor guard and a volley of rifle fire,” said Jesse Phillips, Senior and Coast Guard Reserves.

Many students pass by the statue that stands in the middle of the college circle, never knowing of what it is and why it is there.

ESU President Marcia G. Welsh started the ceremony with a brief history lesson.

The statue “Julia” was given as a gift from the alumni of the university as a memorial to George N. Kemp, the son of the University’s president at the time, who was killed in the Argonne Forest during WWI.

Depicting a Roman matron, Julia holds a wreath in her right hand to crown the sons and daughters of the university that served in WWI.

The statue was formally dedicated on Nov. 22, 1919.

“Over 200 ESU students, former students, faculty and staff served in WWI. The center and core of our campus is a thank you for the service the University gave to our country,” said Welsh.

“It’s a wonderful ceremony. It’s been a tradition for seven years. It’s a good thing to do for the community,” she elaborated.

June Pepe, ESU Veterans Representative, then asked the choir to sing our National Anthem.

After a brief moment of silence and recognition of the missing choir, the audience broke out in song and pride by singing the anthem themselves.

“June Pepe does an outstanding job. When we opened the Veterans Center, she was a natural,” commented Welsh on Pepe’s hard work.

“She organizes the Stroudsburg Veterans Parade,” added Welsh. “She does a lot and is incredibly dedicated to the veterans on our campus.”

The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Marine Corps. Colonel Douglas Douds. This decorated military officer was born in East Stroudsburg, Pa.

“We are never encapsulated in just our time. It’s bigger than ourselves; the people that have gone before us,” explained Col. Douds on the importance of Veterans Day.

“Great deeds has been done and things suffered on our behalf to have the freedoms we enjoy today. It’s appropriate for us to take time to stop thinking about the little things in front of us and remember those things that are important; about who we are and who we inspire to be, as people and as a nation,” said Col. Douds.

During the ceremony, the crowd took time to recognize the veterans in the room. They stood up proudly and were met with a roaring applause.

The precession led the room outside to the college circle, where Welsh and Col. Douds laid the wreath in front of the Julia statue.

With rifles firing into the air and sounds of bagpipes playing Taps, this signaled the closing of the ceremony.

Today’s ceremony was just one of many in the Pocono’s  this week which honored Veterans Day.

A complete list of events can be found on The Pocono Record’s website

For more information regarding ESU veterans, please visit the Veteran Center, located on the ground floor of Zimbar-Liljenstein Hall.

Additionally, June Pepe can be reached at jpepe@esu.edu.

Email Randy at: rlertdarap@live.esu.edu

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