Pius Akpomeda ’16 read the traditional Veterans Day poem “In Flanders Fields” and the Lawrence High School Junior ROTC color guard added the pomp and circumstance to Merrimack’s Honoring Our Veterans ceremony at Cascia Hall Friday Nov. 6.
The ceremony complemented the annual Mack Gives Back Day that was held Saturday.
The ceremony featured the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by Morgan Francese and accompanied by Campus Music Activities Coordinator Hugh Hinton; a prayer by the Rev. Raymond Dlugos, OSA; and the Merrimack Concert Choir including Rebecca Towne, Kasey Miller, Rosemary Morton, and Shannon Brault singing “America the Beautiful” before closing remarks from senior Cameron Monagle.
“It’s great to see something like this,” said Joe Jenkins, a U.S. Air Force veteran and a business career specialist at the Girard School of Business. “It touches my heart to see people want to get involved.”
Dlugos reminded those who gathered for the ceremony that veterans returning from combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan want to get on with their lives but often carry emotional and psychological scars even if there aren’t physical scars. It often leads to homelessness, drug abuse and alcoholism.
The country needs to ask itself how to care for its veterans, he said.
“They return broken and continue to be willing to serve us but it becomes our duty to care for them,” Dlugos said. “They deserve our honor, care and respect.”
It’s important to remember the men and women of the armed services who are currently serving, said Merrimack Police Maj. Thomas Murphy.
“The young men and women over there need our support,” said Murphy, a Vietnam-era Navy veteran.
Veterans Day is celebrated Nov. 11 as recognition of the end of World War I.