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Morning Sun
  • For those who serve

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  • On the surface, it's just a name in stone. Just a name etched into a wall or stamped into a paver. But most of these names were not written by their owners.
    The names on the wall at the PSU Veterans Memorial recognize the fallen, just as many of the pavers outside the memorial do the same. On Monday, 35 new pavers were dedicated.
    Inside the memorial, a service was held that recognized veterans, whether they gave it all or simply their time, effort, energy and work.
    "When we gather here, we often talk about the lessons of service and sacrifice,"  noted Pittsburg State President Steve Scott. "Each name tells a story, as does each paver. We have more than 3,241 pavers out there."
    Two particular stories took center stage in Pittsburg State's Veterans Day ceremony on Monday.
    The first was that of Emil Kapaun, a Kansas native who served as a U.S. Army Chaplain during the Korean War. Several pavers at the memorial go to honor Kapaun.
    "Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, integrity and personal courage," said Capt. Jonathan C. Johnson, also a U.S. Army chaplain. "He was sneaking around in the dark to get provisions for other soldiers. At one point, he was disciplined by the Chinese Army and sent out overnight in the cold."
    Kapaun eventually died while in a prisoner of war camp, but his sacrifice remains recognized, recently receiving a posthumous Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama.
    The other person recognized on Monday was Sgt. 1st Class Forrest W. Robertson, "Sgt. Rob," who was killed by small arms fire in Afghanistan on Nov. 3. Robertson was a former Pittsburg State military science instructor. Robertson's immediate family was in the audience during the ceremony and was recognized in particular by speakers.
    Johnson said that both Kapaun and Robertson demonstrated the "Army values" that he wishes would make a return in American society.
    Johnson would close by quoting John F. Kennedy, who was killed nearly 50 years ago himself: "As we express our gratitude, let us never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
    Monday's ceremony also included the "Song for the Unseen Hero" sung by the Pittsburg Community Middle School Choir, and "Taps" as performed by Pittsburg State sophomore Thomas Lawlor.
    Capt. Timothy Wilkins, a PSU military science assistant professor, spoke about the "Battle Cross", aka the Fallen Soldier Memorial, signified by boots, a downward pointed rifle with bayonet, dog tags and helmet that has become a makeshift memorial to the fallen soldiers.
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