On Friday morning, the tower at the Swain Student Building on Indiana University’s campus chimed out the time at half-past 7 o’clock. That’s when the university’s observance of Veterans Day got started.
The IU Army and Air Force ROTC color guard raised the flag on the pole that stands just east of Sample Gates, in front of Franklin Hall, which is home to the university’s media school.
In front of Franklin hall is a statue of journalist Ernie Pyle, the iconic World War II correspondent, sitting at a typewriter tapping out a report.
Delivering remarks this year was Colonel Franyate D. Taylor, commander of Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
A big part of Taylor’s message was about the challenges that the U.S. military faces in attracting new recruits.
She alluded to the end of the draft in 1973, when she noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the country’s all-volunteer armed forces.
Taylor noted the results of a recent Gallup poll, which found that only 60 percent of Americans express confidence in the military. Even though that is a majority, she said, that is still the lowest confidence level in the last 20 years.
Before calling on young people to serve, Taylor gave it some context: “If you watch or read the news, it is easy to see that the present moment is a critical time unfolding for both our country and the world.”
Taylor added: “We need the next generation to stand up and join the many veterans who have stood up at other critical times throughout our history.”
Taylor said about half of the Department of Defense civilian force is made up of Army veterans. She called that “an indicator that veterans have first-hand knowledge of the benefits of a military career, and can bridge the gap between those who are familiar with military life and those who have never considered the military as a career.”
Taylor made a request of veterans: “If you are a veteran, I encourage you to share your positive stories about your service this Veterans Day.” She added, “Veterans’ stories connect Americans with the value of military service and inspire the next generation to serve.”
Photos: Veterans Day flag raising IU campus