A ceremony was held last Thursday, Nov. 10 at Roanoke College by the Student Veterans Group to commemorate both Veterans Day and Remembrance Day.
The observance focused on those who have served with honor and bravery, including those who sacrificed their lives.
“Who serves? The ones who love their country and its values. The ones who want to protect the innocents. The ones who want to pay for college. The ones who struggled through school and don’t head from high school to college. The ones escaping abuse, neglect, gangs and foster care. The ones with nowhere else to go. The ones who were given no choice. Why remember them?” Frances McCutcheon, a Roanoke College lecturer and advisor to the Student Veterans Group, said. “The right to vote in a free and fair election. The ability to trust that our elections matter. The recognition of equality of women. Protections for minorities. The ability to be this privileged and this selfish because they signed contracts that included the sacrifice of their lives. Because they left spouses and offspring behind while we hug ours. Because they saw and heard and did things that follow them into the night. Because they lost their innocence to protect ours.”
Organizers also remembered and prayed for the people of Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing war there.
There ceremony began at the Bell Tower in the college’s Back Quad, with nine rings of the bell.
“We’re trying to bring to mind those in Ukraine, those that are serving, those that are dying, those who are oppressed,” MuCutcheon said. “We rang the bell nine times because that’s the number of months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nine months that they have been suffering the shelling, the loss of their homes, the loss of their country. We honor them in fighting back.”