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App State honors those who have served during Heroes Week

Attendees+of+the+Veterans+Day+ceremony+in+the+lobby+of+BB+Dougherty.
Adrianna Rice
Attendees of the Veteran’s Day ceremony in the lobby of BB Dougherty.

Student Veteran Services held a Veterans Day Ceremony and Reception in the lobby of BB Dougherty at 9 a.m. on November 10th in honor of Heroes Week

Heroes week is a way that App State shows acknowledgement of their student and faculty veterans through numerous events that will be held on campus. 

Willson Hooks, a sophomore music performance major, started off the ceremony by playing the national anthem and “Taps.”

After Hooks performed “Taps,” North Carolina National Guard Cadet Arieli Pruitt, a senior majoring in cellular and molecular biology, opened the program by welcoming Executive Vice Chancellor Heather Norris.

“At App State 261 veterans, 105 active duty, 74 staff and faculty veterans enrich our campus community each day,” Norris said. 

Norris thanked everyone who joined the ceremony and gave a shout out to the Hickory campus for joining via Zoom. There were about 70 individuals who attended the ceremony. 

Norris said that commemorating this day serves as a reminder of the enduring commitment and resilience of those who have served. The day also helps show an appreciation for their service and their sacrifices.

“Appalachian State University is more dedicated than ever to helping military-affiliated students thrive on campus and in the community. This dedication begins during their transition from service to education, and lasts through to graduation and entering the workforce,” says the student veterans website says.

Bethany Gonzalez, the associate director of Student Veteran Services, agreed with the website.

“Appalachian does a good job of creating these campus wide connections for a support network for student veterans,” Gonzalez said.

At the ceremony, Norris said they were not only honoring active service members of App State, but also the commitments made by military-affiliated families. There are nearly 962 military dependents and spouses that attend App State, Norris said.

“App State’s Veterans Day is one of the most important events we hold each year. Only about 7% of living Americans have served in the U.S. military in some capacity. At App State that number is about 2% of our total student, faculty and staff population,” Norris said.

The Veterans Day ceremony is not the only event that happened this week. Veterans Week events were held at multiple locations on the App State campus and throughout Boone from Nov. 3-11. 

Some of those events held were a military homecoming, Heroes Day tailgate and football game, a virtual 5K, a screening of the 6888 Battalion documentary followed by a panel discussion and a Veterans Day ceremony followed with a staff and faculty luncheon.

Student Veterans may visit the Student Veteran Services on the second floor of Plemmons Student Union. 

“We’re still working on growing involvement so we have a really good core group of students who help to plan things and do things, and then we have some people who kind of float in and out, and that’s fine. We just want to make sure that our military students know that their welcome in the student veteran center, and our events,” Gonzalez said.

The Heroes Week activities were welcome to all student veterans, faculty and staff.

“Our student veterans bring such a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Appalachian community and their experiences throughout their time in service give them such a valuable perspective, especially in the classroom and in other student organizations,” Gonzalez said. “They are often leaders and they are often driven to succeed and we are very blessed to have the student veteran population that we have here at App State.” 

Norris said App State is in the top 15% of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.

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About the Contributor
Adrianna Rice
Adrianna Rice, Reporter
Adrianna Rice (she/her) is a freshman elementary education major with a concentration in exceptional learners from Wake Forest, NC. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian.
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