Heroes honored for their sacrifices

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Brandon Zeris

Sgt. Christopher McCreary listens to retired Marine 1st Lt. Richard O’Bryan speak at the Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11.

Kaitlin Greenockle, Copy Editor

Sgt. Christopher McCreary, a Pennsylvania Army National Guard member and Pitt-Johnstown student who has returned from deployment in Afghanistan, led a Veterans Day evening ceremony Nov. 11 with the Pledge of Allegiance at the campus Heroes Memorial.

Head of the Pitt-Johnstown Wounded Warrior Initiative Anna Macugoski said she planned the Veterans Day ceremony with the help of others.

The Wounded Warrior Initiative, which is to be ongoing until the semester’s end, has raised $1,744 so far, with $500 presented by Delta Chi fraternity members at the Nov. 11 ceremony.

“Most college students today cannot remember a time when our country was not at war.

Military personnel continue to suffer from wounds both visible and invisible; I see this issue as a prevalent problem in our society today,” Macugoski said.

Entering the ceremony, there were luminaries with veteran and active military member names lit along the path to commemorate their service. Approximately 200 people attended the evening ceremony.

Retired Marine 1st Lt. Richard O’Bryan gave a speech promoting patriotism and thanking the community’s heroes. O’Bryan paid tribute to those who have served in the military.

O’Bryan began his speech with a quote from “The American Crisis” by Thomas Paine.

“Freedom is our birth-right because of those who do the undoable,” O’Bryan said.

He also said military men and women take an oath to be the watchdogs of our rights and freedoms. O’Bryan encouraged audience members to remember what we have gained because of our veterans.

“It is only a tragedy if we let (veterans’) sacrifices be forgotten,” O’Bryan said.

After O’Bryan’s speech, senior education major Stephen Torquato closed the ceremony with a prayer, thanking those who have served and asking that current soldiers are kept safe.

After the ceremony, everyone was invited to the Cambria Room for refreshments. The group was led on the pathway of 550 luminaires by bagpiper William Gority of Altoona as he played “Honor our Heroes”.

“By focusing efforts on raising funds for The Wounded Warrior Project, we as a campus were able to unite for a worthy cause,” Macugoski said.

“Hopefully, this effort will ignite an annual tradition of campus unity and fundraising efforts aimed at supporting our military.”