Barry McNamara  |  Published November 11, 2022

A Day to Honor and to Learn

At Veterans Day ceremony hosted by Stockdale Fellows, President Wyatt urges guests to learn the stories of those who served in the U.S. military as a way to honor their service to the nation.

Guests stand at attention during the playing of the national anthem by the Fighting Scots Marchin...

Guests stand at attention during the playing of the national anthem by the Fighting Scots Marching Band on Friday afternoon in the Center for Science and Business as part of the Monmouth College Veterans Day ceremony.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Members of the Monmouth College community were urged Friday to use Veterans Day as a moment to not only honor those who have served in the U.S. military but also to learn more about their service to the nation.

“Being a long-time teacher of history, it is natural for me to ask ‘What can we know? What can we learn?’” said Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt, who was the featured speaker at the College’s veterans appreciation ceremony, held in the Veterans Great Room of the Center for Science and Business.

The event was hosted by members of the College’s James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows leadership program. One of the program’s namesakes is Vice Adm. James Stockdale, a member of Monmouth’s Class of 1946.

A scholar of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and the author of Paper Soldiers: The American Press and the Vietnam War, an acclaimed book about U.S. press coverage of the war, Wyatt said many lessons about Veterans Day are displayed on the Monmouth campus.

“In my time at Monmouth, I have learned – and continue to learn – of the great heritage of service that lives among Monmouth alumni,” said Wyatt. “I would encourage everyone to take time, today or later, to look around this Veterans Great Room. The displays on these walls tell of the College’s military heritage, one of which we should all be proud.”

Wyatt said the room’s “walls tell the stories of the four Monmouth College alumni who have received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor in action.” In addition to Stockdale, that group includes Stockdale’s cousin Bobby Dunlap ’42, as well as George Palmer from the Class of 1861 and James Duncan from the Class of 1866.

Remembering POWs

Monmouth College student Alexandria King '24, who serves in the Air Force Reserve, performs with ...

Monmouth College student Alexandria King ’24, who serves in the Air Force Reserve, performs with the Fighting Scots Marching Band on Friday afternoon in the Center for Science and Business as part of the College's Veterans Day ceremony.

“This past Wednesday, we were honored to join the U.S. Naval Academy as it begins its year-long 50th anniversary commemoration of the return of Vietnam War prisoners of war in early 1973,” said Wyatt, who in 2012 was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship that took him to Hanoi University in Vietnam as a visiting lecturer for six months. “The senior officer and the acknowledged leader of the American POWs was then-Capt. Stockdale. Not only was he senior in rank, he was senior in resolve, integrity, wisdom and faith. Many of the POWs credit him with helping them to survive and to return home with honor.”

At the ceremony, an empty chair served as a physical symbol of the thousands of American POW/MIAs still unaccounted for from all wars and conflicts involving the United States.

In addition to Paper Soldiers, Wyatt co-edited The Vietnam Era, a digital collection of essays and primary sources, and Propaganda in Wartime America, a two-volume encyclopedia. He has also contributed chapters and essays to several collections on the Vietnam War.

Wyatt closed his remarks by stating: “Finally, I try to learn from the lessons of service and leadership that veterans can give us. Most of all, for me, how do we work to make a more just, more peaceful world, so that we do not add to the roll of more than 1.3 million Americans who have died in wartime? Let that just and peaceful world for which they sacrificed and for which all veterans served be our lasting tribute to them.”

Other highlights

In her opening remarks, In her introduction of Wyatt, Stockdale Fellow Grace Simpson ’23 of Metamora, Illinois, said: “On this day, Veterans Day, we are commemorating the service of all veterans. We remember how men and women set aside their civilian pursuits to serve their nation’s cause, defending the freedom of mankind and preserving our precious American heritage.”

AJ Furness ’24 of Grinnell, Iowa, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Stockdale Fellow and 2022 Lincoln Laureate, Addison Cox ’23 of Morton, Illinois, gave the invocation.

The Fighting Scots Marching Band, which had played earlier in the day at the Monmouth American Legion’s Veterans Day program, performed “Road to the Isle,” which was said to be written in 1917 “for the lads in France during the Great War.”

Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt, who delivered the keynote address Friday afternoon ... Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt, who delivered the keynote address Friday afternoon in the Center for Science and Business as part of the College's Veterans Day ceremony, is joined by, from left: Marnie Dugan, director of the College's Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership & Fellowships and associate director for student success; Stockdale Fellow Grace Simpson ’23 of Metamora, Illinois; Stockdale Fellow Addison Cox ’23 of Morton, Illinois; and Stockdale Fellow Allyson Clay ’23 of Jacksonville, Illinois.

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