November 11, 2010
GW student veterans led a Veterans Day ceremony this morning in Kogan Plaza to recognize the men and women who have served in the military.
GW Vets President Ryan Bos, who served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and the 1st Armored Division, delivered a welcome and led the moment of silence and wreath-laying ceremony.
Jim Stepanek, vice president of veterans’ organization VietNow and a Vietnam War veteran with the U.S. Marines, spoke about how the nation’s attitude toward veterans has changed since the 1960s and 70s.
“It’s not a strange sight anymore to identify a veteran and to say thank you for your service, and it’s a nice change for veterans in our country,” he said.
GW President Steven Knapp thanked GW’s student veterans for their “personal sacrifice” and said the university is very proud to enroll more than 500 student veterans.
“I’ve really admired the leadership role they’ve taken on our campus and they’ve been in the forefront of what we do with service in our community,” says Dr. Knapp. “We’re very mindful of their sacrifice and service on behalf of all of us and on behalf of freedom. We’re grateful for our veterans and grateful to so many of you for joining us in this wonderful remembrance.”
Before the ceremony, Dr. Knapp spoke about the university’s commitment to veterans during a radio segment on National Public Radio affiliate WAMU 88.5.
Mr. Bos, a junior, is currently is serving in a Long Range Surveillance unit in the Maryland Army National Guard. He said it’s especially important to share Veterans Day with fellow veterans and “be proud” of their service.
“I am proud to be a vet and proud to stand with the likes of Vietnam veterans and World War II veterans. I feel like I’m part of an elite group of this nation’s society that can say I’m a veteran,” says Mr. Bos. “We’re all bonded by the experiences we went through.”
A barbeque and several contests followed the ceremony.
This year, more than 260 veterans are taking advantage of GW’s Yellow Ribbon Program, part of the GI Bill passed after 9/11, which provides returning veterans with enhanced access to private colleges and universities.
The university also was recently was named a top “military friendly” school by GI Jobs magazine, and GW ranked 21 out of more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the Military Times’ Best for Vets college rankings.