Keuka College held its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9, in Norton Chapel. The ceremony, attended by several hundred people, recognized veterans in the College and local communities for the sacrifices they have made for our country.
Student veteran Shawn Hourihan, a junior Criminology/Criminal Justice major with a minor in Pre-law and Political Science who served in the U.S. Army for five years, was a featured speaker at the ceremony. He shared what Veterans Day means to him.
“On this Veterans Day, we not only express our gratitude but also seek to remember the battles that our brave veterans have fought, and the sacrifices made to protect our freedoms,” said Shawn. “Your service has helped keep our country and its citizens safe and free.”
Shawn enlisted in the Army exactly one month after Sept. 11. He deployed with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq and Afghanistan as an E5/Sergeant.
“In the aftermath of the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001, our nation came together to confront a new type of terrorism,” said Shawn. “As a result, many Americans answered the call to action and enlisted in the military without hesitation to join the fight against terrorism, and to bring justice to those who tried so hard to break our resolve but failed. I am one of those Americans.”
Professor of History Dr. Christopher Leahy was the keynote speaker for the ceremony. He shared the origins of Veterans Day and offered his appreciation for the sacrifices made by America’s veterans.
“It is appropriate that today’s ceremony is a commemoration,” said Dr. Leahy. “Today, we are mindful that American service men and women are still fighting and under attack in the Middle East. This gives Veterans Day more immediacy, more poignancy. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force have answered a high call to serve and help secure America at every turn.”
He added that the day is about remembering and honoring those who laid down their lives in freedom’s defense.
“Those great men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for our benefit,” said Dr. Leahy. “On Veterans Day, we remember these heroes for their valor, their loyalty, and their dedication. Their selfless sacrifices continue to inspire us today as we work to advance peace and extend freedom around the world.”
College President Amy Storey offered remarks and shared that the College has established a Veterans Task Force that is actively finding ways to support veterans as they attend the College. Shawn was instrumental in its creation, she said.
“On behalf of the College, it is my privilege to stand before you today to say ‘thank you’ to those who have served our country and have the title of veteran bestowed upon them,” said President Storey. “Your self-sacrifice and commitment to causes greater than yourself are to be honored, admired, and celebrated. Your service does not go unnoticed, and our lives are better because of who you are.”
Also taking part in the ceremony:
- Senior Lindsey VanAlstyne, an Environmental Science major and president of the Student Senate, offered welcoming remarks.
- Members of the Color Guard Unit of the American Legion Johnson-Costello Post 355 presented the colors.
- Greg Disbrow presented the Elks Veterans Service Medal to Korean War Veteran Don Manning.