Veterans' Appreciation Luncheon

Nov 08, 2013

The Marywood community commemorates Veterans Day with a field of flags in the Memorial Commons and a wall of remembrance in the Rotunda.

I am so honored to be here with you, and I want to begin by thanking each one of you for your service, so selflessly given on behalf of this nation. Today’s event was made possible by Marywood’s Office of Military and Veteran Services, which is an outstanding addition to our campus. I want to thank the program’s director, Lauren Williams, for coordinating this luncheon and for inviting me to join you. I consider each one of you to be a very special guest, and I am delighted to welcome all of you to our campus.

The original celebration of Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954—a name change that reflected the honoring of all veterans, not just those from World War I. President Dwight D. Eisenhower—who was himself a five-star general in the U.S. Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe—issued the very first “Veterans Day Proclamation” on October 8, 1954, which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”

This common purpose is at the heart of what we celebrate today. From its earliest years, Marywood has had a cherished tradition of rallying to aid war-related fund drives, educating active service members, performing research endeavors specifically geared towards military families, and engaging in scholarly projects to document veterans’ experiences.

As a Catholic institution of higher education, Marywood University is readily equipped to offer our best response to all who enjoy and defend the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: education. Opening the door to educational access and providing you with the tools you need to succeed is, and always has been, an essential part of our mission. In this way, we best honor our veterans and current service members.

I can assure you that Marywood University, with the capable assistance of our Office of Military and Veterans Services, is truly committed to helping with that successful transition. We are the first university in the region offering these kinds of services for veterans and active service members. Just as our past commitment has demonstrated, our present and future efforts are dedicated to supporting the contributions, and, especially, the education of military women and men.

To those of you who are veterans, we appreciate all you have done for this nation. You are men and women of great character and integrity, and you deserve the opportunity to build on the service you have given, and, in some cases, continue to give. Today, we salute you and we celebrate you: for your patriotism; for your love of country; and, for your willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. May God bless you today and each day—especially on Veterans Day. On behalf of the entire Marywood University, I wish to express our deepest thanks.

Now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our next guest, who will deliver today’s opening remarks, Judge Thomas J. Munley, President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Lackawanna County, as well as a Vietnam veteran.