Binghamton University recently honored veterans with a ceremony and marching demonstration.

This past Veterans Day, BU held a ceremony in the Couper Administration Building honoring American veterans, a celebratory tradition that has taken place at BU for several decades. The event was held through the cooperation of a variety of administrative offices and departments on campus, some of which include the President’s Office, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and the New York State University Police Department. While it was initially planned for two ROTC cadets to raise the American flag, the event was moved indoors due to rain. Poppy flower pins and wristbands that read “never forget those who served” were offered at the end of the event.

BU President Harvey Stenger, along with Randall Edouard, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, were both speakers at the event. Stenger began the event by discussing the importance of actively celebrating Veterans Day, sharing that the University was originally established to assist veterans.

“To recognize Veterans Day is not just something we think about doing, it’s something we’re obligated to do,” Stenger said. “[BU] was started 76 years ago as an answer to returning GIs from World War II, to get them a higher education that they would need to have to be successful in the growing economy.”

Stenger paid tribute to ROTC cadets and reminded attendees of the importance of showing gratitude toward those who have served.

“Whether it’s an aunt or an uncle or your parents, make sure you get that thank you in,” Stenger said. “I hope people will remember that as we prepare our world for more conflict, it doesn’t seem like it ever wants to end, but we are so lucky that we have future officers like our ROTC cadets who will defend our freedoms.”

Two cadets from the BU ROTC program, Jack Kralik, a sophomore majoring in history, and Luca Giardina, a Cornell University army ROTC cadet command sergeant major and a senior majoring in environmental science, gave a marching demonstration at the event to honor those who have served.

Giardina reflected on his membership in the ROTC program and spoke of the opportunity it can give to students. Giardina said the program allows him to display leadership traits that are seen in our troops.

“Veterans Day to me means just recognizing everyone that has served and everyone that is currently serving,” Giardina said. “As well as recognizing the sacrifice that they made to make this country what it is and the leadership that they had that we can all look up to.”

Stenger continued, and said it may be easy for attendees, him included, to take the freedom protected by U.S. veterans for granted. Kralik acknowledged Stenger’s words, and described the holiday as an important reminder for the country.

“We often say we never forget, we never forget, we never forget those who have served and sacrificed for us,” Kralik said. “I think Veterans Day is an important time to stop and really never forget. We have the opportunity to take times like this to put on a demonstration to show those who have served that we really care.”

As the event came to an end, the attendees led the crowd in a moment of silence. The moment of silence was followed by closing remarks from Edouard.

Edouard described how Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to remember and thank those who have served and sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom in the United States.

“For it’s their love and their support and their resilience that is the backbone of this nation, and in our recognition this afternoon and your presence here and services and ceremonies all over the country, we will never forget that sacrifice,” Edouard said. “We will never forget that responsibility. We will never ever forget our veterans.”