UVU Celebrates the Lives of Fallen and Living Soldiers

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Ryan Dangerfield | Staff Writer | @ryandanger23
Photo Credit: Tiffany Frandsen | @tiffany_mf


November 11, 2014 marked the anniversary of Veterans Day to celebrate the men and women who have fought to protect the United States and the freedom of all United States citizens.

Utah Valley University planned a variety of different events to celebrate Veterans Day with its students, including a keynote address by Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Peterson, a Vietnam Veterans panel, a current war Veterans panel, and a flag retirement ceremony.

“Please know my profound appreciation for this country,” said UVU President Matthew S. Holland. “Also, for the men and women of our armed services who have given so much, and in many cases given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country.”

The main subject of Peterson’s speech was that freedom is not free, and has been paid for in the lives of several soldiers of the course of the country’s history. Peterson personally has seen the loss of soldier’s lives working for over 23 years in the Air Force as an operational test pilot, and having been deployed to Afghanistan three times.

Peterson risked his life saving the “Lone Survivor” Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, whose four-man Navy SEAL team had been ambushed in the Northeastern Mountains of Afghanistan. A movie was made by Universal Studios about Luttrell’s experiences, and was released in January of 2014. This film has grossed more than $125 million, and Luttrell was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg.

“We have taken a solemn oath to defend and protect the constitution,” said Peterson. “And we hold that very dear to our hearts, but freedom is not free.”

Proceeding Peterson’s speech, the people who attended the event honored the veterans in attendance by giving the troops an ovation while the troops stood to their military branches.

Holland said this day means a lot to him both institutionally and personally, due to having spent his professional life studying America.

“I have basically devoted my professional life to the study of America…it has been the subject of my research and the focus of my teaching, to teach the upcoming generation of youth that this is a great nation, one worth fight for both in word and in deed,” Said Holland.

Utah County has seen in the last few years over ten soldiers die in battle so that regular citizens could have their freedom. Numerous others are currently serving their country to protect this freedom.

November 11 officially became a holiday in November of 1919, when United States President Woodrow Wilson, proclaimed Armistice Day as a day to be filled with pride in the heroism of those people who died in service of their country, and with gratitude for the victories in war. Later, in 1947, the day was given the new title of Veterans Day.


Flag Retiring Ceremony

Photo Credit: Tiffany Frandsen