It may have started off as a cold and windy Friday morning, but that did not stop people from pouring into St. Ignatius Church at for the 11th Annual Veterans Remembrance Mass.
“Veterans know how to serve, especially in the worst of circumstances,” said Father Anthony Penna, who lead the Veterans Day service.
Penna went to tell a story of unwavering courage, patriotism and solidarity that soldiers in Vietnam prison camps upheld. He spoke to the power of their belief in the greater good and their pure unwillingness to give up.
Following the traditional Catholic Mass, more than 100 people headed over to the University’s Veterans’ Memorial on the Burns Library lawn for a remembrance ceremony. Cadet Robert Olp began the proceedings by recognizing the fact that the gathering was to remember the brave, and also pay homage to those who bore the ultimate burden.
The group was addressed by , a member of the school’s graduating class of 1981. Clark is currently the director of the Army’s Foreign Intelligence Office and Director of the Department of Defense’s 60th Anniversary Korean War Commemoration Committee.
“After the Jesuits the Army was a piece of cake,” Clark said, receiving quite a bit of laughter. “I owe a debt to this school that can never be fully repaid.”
Clark spoke to the importance of the doors that were opened to him as an underprivileged child from East Lynn, and the need to keep opportunities available to all Americans, rich and poor alike.
“Today, as we honor the service and sacrifice of veterans, what better way to ensure their memory than to guarantee the American dream for all,” Clark said.
After serving multiple tours in Europe, Korea, Iraq and stateside, Clark believes that he sees the same crisis and problems that all citizens in the U.S. see. However, he feels that as a country Americans fail to account for their own greatness and no other nation in the world has the same level of ingenuity.
“We can and will persevere, but to do so we must maintain a qualitative edge,” said Clark.
Clark believes that keeping a strong economy is vital to maintain this edge, and that can only be done through continuing to educate the population.
He also spoke about the Korean War, which is referred to as “The Forgotten War”. As much of the country was still recovering from World War II and were being distracted by the television and a newly booming automobile industry, soldiers were called to help defend South Korea from its neighbor to the North.
“Fifty-thousand American lives were lost, and there are still 8,000 among the missing. The Northeast Asia that we know today would be non-existent if not for the allied intervention,” he said.
He asked that everyone remember this generation of American patriots in an equally heroic way as the rest.
At the end of the ceremony two cadets from Boston College read allowed the names of school members who lost their lives in all of the countrys' wars.