By Devon Wilkinson
High Point University hosted an event, “A Patriotic Salute and Breakfast for Military Heroes,” a Veterans Day celebration. City Council members, the Chief of Police, the Chief of the fire department and the City Major were just a few of the hundreds of community members that came out to celebrate our local Veterans.
To kick off the event, the Chamber Singers and the North Carolina Brass Band teamed up to perform the National Anthem. Rev. Frank K. Thomas followed with a prayer. “ We honor you today, not because of what you have done, but because of who you are.” Being a Methodist University, the audience members and volunteers, in unison, bowed their heads and joined Rev. Thomas in prayer.
President Nido Qubein, the first speaker of the event, stepped up to the podium to make a heartfelt shout out to those Veterans who never came back from the line of action. “You might have noticed tables, set for one, around campus. These tables are tables set for those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice of our county.”
Tables were set in various locations around HPU’s campus that remained empty for the day. The tables paid tribute to the men and women who made freedom in America a possibility.
HPU was honored to have Colonel James Quincy Collins. JR., Purple heart medal of honor recipient, who spoke on behalf of his experience in the US Airforce. “In prison, every day, we pledged allegiance to the flag, except we didn’t have a flag, we pledge allegiance to a blank wall and we just imagined our flag was there.” Colonel Collins fought in the Cold War and Vietnam war. He spoke on behave of his experience as a prisoner of war for 7 ½ years. ”Memories got me through, I just knew this wasn’t going to be the way it was going to end,” Collins says in an exclusive interview with the Campus Chronicle. “ I had hope that pleasing things were going to happen to me because I was going to make them happen, I don’t just sit around and wait, I get out there and get moving.” Collins concludes the interview, “I hope I challenged some of the folks here this morning.”
“Veterans have done so much to serve our nation,” says Kristen Pinsky, HPU freshman and volunteer of the event, “putting on this event was the least we could do for the bravery they have shown this country.”
To wrap things up, over 100 HPU student volunteers walked down the isles of the Millis Auditorium to give the honored guests a small token of our gratitude for their service to this country. A blanket was handed to every Veteran while the Chamber Singers sang their remediation of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”