Clayton State's Student Veterans Association and the Veterans Resource Center hosted a Veterans Day memorial ceremony on Monday, Nov. 13 to commemorate those who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces, particularly Clayton State student veterans.
Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day marked the end of the First World War on Nov. 11, 1919. It became a national holiday in 1938, and pays tribute to all Americans who have served in the United States military.
The Stone Mountain Highschool Navy JROTC hosted military colors as the Clayton State Music Drama Workshop, led by professor of music, Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller, sang the national anthem.
Dr. Christie Burton, professor of technology management at Clayton State and an Army veteran, was the event's keynote speaker. She shared with the audience her story of how she became involved in the military.
As a young adult, Burton had been awarded a merit scholarship to attend college, but the scholarship was only meant to last two years. Soon after starting college, she began looking for other ways to finance her education. She ultimately investigated military opportunities and joined her university's Army ROTC program.
Burton said joining the Army ROTC limited her student loans, provided her with special leadership opportunities, and ensured an active duty job upon graduating college.
"Choosing the military was one of the best decisions I have ever made," she said.
Burton recognized the importance of student veterans in colleges and universities.
"Our student veterans are a viable aspect to Clayton State University and higher education establishments in general," she stated. "It is important that we acknowledge and appreciate our student veterans.
Burton also spoke about the challenges student veterans feel transitioning into civilian life and being on campus with classmates who may be younger than them.
Balancing family and military responsibilities, pursuing an education while working a full-time job and accessing resources targeted to veterans are just some of the issues student veterans face.
Burton said identifying student veterans as a special group, educating the campus community about student veterans, and delivering services targeted to meet their needs can offer a solution to better integrate student veterans on campus.
She applauded Clayton State for making these efforts by establishing the Clayton State University Veterans Taskforce and the Veterans Resource Center.
The ceremony concluded with a salute to U.S. military veterans, a roll call for fallen Georgian veterans, and a moment of silence for fallen soldiers, prisoners of war and those who are missing in action.