by Eddie Lopez
It is Thursday morning. The morning sun shines on the American bald eagle statue in the middle of Patriot Plaza at Columbus. Decorated veterans walk through the halls of their alma mater. This is the Annual Veterans Day Celebration at Columbus. This past Thursday, Nov. 9, students, faculty, alumni and families gathered to honor our alumni veterans.
After a beautiful performance of the Star-Spangled Banner from Mr. Cooper and presentation of Colors from the University of Miami Air Force ROTC, the event kicked off with remarks
from alumni Michael A. Carricarte, Sr., class of 1959, who served in the Army and was a Decorated Green Beret and Ranger. As well as remarks from the keynote speaker Class of 1981 alumni Rafael Ribas who served in the Army and retired as a Major General.
One thing that brought these veterans together was the four years they spent in Columbus.
General Ribas said, “It means a lot [to be back on campus]. I have such great memories and since I live in south Florida, I follow the school all the time and talk to many of my friends who went here and to be invited back to say a few words on Veterans Day is just fantastic and is a great opportunity. I just love being here with the kids and looking at the school."
Dr. Burrus, who is a Navy veteran, class if 1962 as well as the moderator of the Patriot Club and organizer of the event said, “It’s always important to have the veterans back on campus and that’s why we have the ceremony every year to honor all veterans but in particular those who attended Columbus and graduated from here. I think it’s very meaningful that somebody remembers what they did because a lot of times they do these things for our country, they’re not in the limelight and are really never appreciated that much.“
In Patriot Plaza, a passerby can find the Patriot Wall, which lists the names of all alumni who served in the armed forces. If a name needs to be added, Dr. Burrus can get the names added.
“If you were going to sacrifice yourself for the country and something you believe in, it’s always nice to be recognized so people appreciate what you have done and that’s what we do here," he said.
Students also recognized the sacrifices that these men made.
Patriot Club member and senior Martin Seals said, “These veterans have risked their lives for our well-being and so it is extremely important that we have these veterans back on campus so we properly recognize them at their school and just for the respective roles they played in defending our country.”
This event was a great showing of support for our veterans and a reminder of the reason why we can have Friday off.