Samford University hosted a special Veterans Day celebration on campus today, honoring veterans of the U.S. Military for their service.
“Today marks the first of what we pray will be many annual Veterans Day ceremonies on this spot,” said Samford President Beck A. Taylor. “It also marks the 75th anniversary of Veterans Day nationally, which began right here in Birmingham, Alabama. It is appropriate then, to mark this significant milestone by beginning a new tradition here at Samford University.”
The campus community gathered in Sherman Circle for a program that included remarks from President Taylor and Tyshawn Gardner, associate professor of Biblical and Religious Studies.
“As a veteran, I’m happy to participate with so many others across our nation as we set aside this day as a day of celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good,” said Gardner, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
Cathedral Brass provided a fitting musical tribute with the playing of the National Anthem, Service Song Medley and America the Beautiful. In military tradition, Samford’s U.S. Air Force ROTC Detachment also provided the posting of the colors and the retirement of the colors. In a moving tribute, the event also included a moment of silence and the playing of “Taps.”
Tommy Taylor, Samford’s Chief of Police and a U.S. Army veteran, also led the community in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It was an honor to be a part of today’s event on behalf of my fellow veterans,” said Taylor. “The military taught me the true meaning of commitment, brotherhood, loyalty and dedication, which are lifelong values that I bring to Samford every day.”
Following the event, veterans at Samford were invited to a celebration luncheon in their honor, during which President Taylor unveiled a new university tradition – Samford Military Challenge Coins. The new, specially commissioned coins were developed to honor members of the Samford community who serve or have served in the U.S. Military.
“Samford celebrates a long history of its students, graduates and employees serving in our armed forces,” said President Taylor. “So, as we celebrate Veterans Day with our entire country, I thought it would be important for us to celebrate our veterans and their service, today and every day.”
The Samford Challenge Coins were presented to all service members in attendance, and will continue to be distributed to Samford students, employees and alumni who serve or have served in the U.S. Military.
Samford will continue its celebration of veterans on Saturday, when men’s basketball hosts Belhaven University at 2 p.m. at the Pete Hanna Center. All veterans and their families will receive free admission and be recognized during the game (military ID required).