Students, San Marcos residents and active and past duty military members joined in front of The Fighting Stallions Monday morning to observe Texas State’s Veterans Day ceremony.
The ceremony, arranged by the Student Foundation, opened with a speech from Ryan Elliot, international relations senior and Student Foundation’s director of Veterans Day commemoration.
“The Texas State community has a rich tradition of military and ROTC involvement dating all the way back to World War II,” Elliot said.
A posting of the colors and performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” from the Bobcat marching band followed Elliot’s speech.
University Presidentspoke about Texas State’s recognition as a veteran-friendly school and the services provided to the 1,046 veterans currently enrolled at the university.
“Those we honor today have committed their lives to protecting our freedoms, and we never want to take them for granted,” Trauth said.
Army Col. Paul Phillips III, who has recently been awarded with the title of distinguished alumnus, delivered the keynote speech for the ceremony after an introduction from Trauth.
“We are extraordinarily proud of him because he is one of us,” Trauth said. “He has represented our university as an outstanding student, athlete, alumnus and military officer, and for that, the Bobcat community will be forever grateful.”
Phillips graduated from Southwest Texas State University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in physical education. Phillips then earned his medical degree and completed an orthopedic residency, becoming an orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Phillips said while he was the keynote speaker, it is important to put the ceremony into perspective.
“It’s not about me. It’s about every single person who has put on the uniform and has represented our country either here or abroad,” Phillips said.
Many of the event’s guests wore formal attire. However, Phillips dressed in an Army combat uniform, which he said served as a reminder there are many military personnel still involved in conflicts around the world.
“Our men and women of the armed services deserve the support of our nation that sends them oftentimes into harm’s way,” Phillips said.
Before Phillips ended his speech, the ceremony was briefly interrupted by an early flyby put on by the San Marcos Commemorative Air Force. A Tora Zero and three T-6 aircrafts flew over the audience twice before returning to the San Marcos Municipal Airport.
“I just needed 30 more seconds,” Phillips joked. “It was almost on time.”
After Phillips’ speech, Jeremy Casselberry, public administration junior and president of Veterans Alliance, presented the Above and Beyond award to Katherine Selber, professor in the School of Social Work.
The Above and Beyond award is given to faculty members who have helped improve veteran resources on campus. Selber is currently the faculty adviser for Veterans Alliance and is a member of the Veterans Advisory Council.
“(Selber) has been the key resource for many veterans on campus and worked with faculty and staff to improve the university policies and resources for veterans,” Phillips said.
The ceremony finished with a bang as the band played the official songs of the military branches, accompanied by a cannon blast at the end.
After the ceremony closed, a smaller group of people met in front of Flowers Hall for a wreath-laying ceremony arranged by Student Foundation. Other attendees went to the LBJ Student Center ballroom, where guests enjoyed a reception and a military exhibit.
Travis Thompson, computer information systems senior, has been attending the ceremony for two years. Thompson served in the Marine Corps in Iraq and at sea and reached the rank of corporal.
“It was nice having a speaker who was as experienced and as well decorated as (Phillips) was,” said Thompson, adding that the ceremonies are always well done.
Thompson said he agrees about much of the praise Texas State has received regarding its treatment of veterans. That praise includes being ranked the 13th best college for veterans in Military Times EDGE’s 2011 list.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Thompson said. “We must be doing something right.”