Schools nationwide rally to honor the fallen
Following the 10th anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, Belmont University has joined a nationwide grass-roots effort to honor American service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past decade. On Veterans Day—Fri., Nov. 11—campus and community volunteers at more than 100 college and universities across the nation will read the names of the 6,200-plus casualties of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), now called Operation New Dawn.
Linda Mullins, Belmont’s VA Education Counselor and the coordinator of the event on Belmont’s campus, said, “November 11, 2011 marks the tenth year of the United States active combat involvement in the global war on terrorism. Many of our volunteer readers for this event will be veterans who are currently students at Belmont as well as members of ROTC units here in Middle Tennessee. This event is a wonderful way for Belmont and the broader Nashville community to participate in honoring all of our veterans and active duty troops and to lift up the significant contribution and sacrifice of so many.”
Each campus participating in Remembrance Day National Roll Call will organize its own reading of names and will observe at 1 p.m. CST a simultaneous nationwide minute of silence. Currently, more than 145 schools in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have agreed to participate in the event. Belmont’s Roll Call will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a brief ceremony and color guard on campus and is expected to last until approximately 4:30 p.m.
The Remembrance Day National Roll Call is sponsored nationally by the Veterans Knowledge Community of NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. NASPA is a 12,000-member association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs professionals. The Veterans Knowledge Community (VKC) mission is to advocate for best practices to help student veterans’ transition to college and succeed. As the National Roll Call sponsor, the goal of VKC is to have at least one institution in each of the 50 states participate in the event.
Lt. Col. (Ret) Brett Morris, the National Roll Call coordinator, said, “We wanted to rally campus communities across the nation to send a powerful message to the troops currently serving that their peers have not forgotten their sacrifices, or those of the fallen.
“The reading of individual names is very poignant because it emphasizes the significance of each and every life lost,” said Morris, a retired Army officer and the associate director for veterans’ affairs at Eastern Kentucky University. “Like the names inscribed at the new 9-11 Memorial in New York, each of the fallen deserve to be remembered for their sacrifice. There is no effort to raise money or promote individual programs. The event is simply to honor those who have sacrificed so much on our behalf.”
The reading of the names will take approximately eight hours to complete as readers announce the names in chronological order.
The National Roll Call is grateful to iCasualties.org for the steadfast recording of the fallen over the past 10 years, from which the names of the fallen have been derived.
For information about the Belmont University Roll Call events, contact Greg Pillon at 615-460-6645. For more information about the National Roll Call effort, contact Brett Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit va.eku.edu/rollcall to see a list of participating schools.