WKU Veterans Day ceremony holds special meaning amid political turmoil

Published: Nov. 11, 2016 at 1:48 PM CST
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All gave some, and some gave all. A saying that was a stark reminder for Veterans who gathered at Guthrie Bell Tower on the campus of Western Kentucky University on Friday.

"We have to honor those that served before us, made the final sacrifice," explained Lt. Colonel Thomas MacMillin, head of the Department of Military Science and Leadership at WKU.

It has become a tradition for members of the WKU ROTC program to host a wreath laying ceremony on Veterans Day in remembrance of those who are no longer with us, and in support of those still standing.

Colonel Greg Lowe is not only a Veteran of our armed forces, but also of the Hilltopper ROTC family.

"My best friend from here at Western was a casualty of the Vietnam War, so it's especially significant for me to be able to come. Of course I think about him virtually every day, but today is a special day," confessed Lowe.

In the midst of turmoil between political parties in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election, Lowe said the always solemn ceremony held even more significance.

"If they're exercising their rights I may not agree with what they're doing, but I certainly would and have defended their right to do so."

That pride in fighting for and maintaining First Amendment rights was a feeling that MacMillin seemed to reciprocate.

"I think it's just a reminder of our basic values and what we stand for as a country," he said matter-of-factly.

Looking at the young ROTC Cadets, Lowe found a type of peace with where the next generation of leaders is heading.

"These students this day and age are just absolutely amazing. I'm so proud of the folks that are in the ROTC program. They're pursuing their education, but they're also preparing themselves to serve our nation in the world's greatest Army, and it's really very heartening to see."

The WKU ROTC program has had a home on The Hill for more than 70 years, and has consistently graduated men and women into the Army, and leadership positions around the nation and the world.