Town administration, as well as the University Office of Religious Life (ORL), the Princeton Student Veterans Organization, and a number of other campus organizations, held a service to honor veterans, both on campus and in the town on Nov. 11. The event was attended by a number of schools in the surrounding area. The event was held for the first time with The Spirit of Princeton in order to extend the event to honor all veterans in the town of Princeton.
Some veterans present said that the event left them feeling optimistic about the future of veterans on campus.
“By including veteran Kaller Roemer, Mayor Freda, Princeton ROTC, and the community of Princeton in the ceremony, Princeton University has made it clear that not only do veterans belong on its campus, but we also play an integral part in role modeling what “service” looks like,” wrote Luke Hixson ’25, a veteran, in an email to The Daily Princetonian.
The event included the presentation of the American flag by the Princeton ROTC color guard and the singing of the national anthem. Princeton Mayor Mark Freda also spoke, recounting the importance of veterans, and making a call for the US Senate “to make the delivery of medical and mental health services to our veterans a top priority all year round.”
The keynote speaker, Kaller Roemer ’23, who serves as president of the Student Veterans Association and the Ivy League Veterans Council, also spoke and addressed how the transfer program that the University reinstated in 2018 has helped many transfer students gain access to Princeton’s campus and resources. He noted the impact Princeton veterans have had on the campus.
In particular, he noted that the bronze stars under the windows of dorms each represent a student who died in World War II. Roemer added that many veterans at Princeton have set a standard of high achievement.
The legacy of the veteran program at the University, he noted, has fostered diversity, with “the first black student” entering “in 1947 through a navy program.”
Roemer also urged the audience to not only honor those who have fought in the wars but also those who have completed service during peacetime. Roemer later told the ‘Prince’ that he “was honored to speak at the Veterans Day Observance this year, after being an attendee in the past; it was surreal.”
To him, the event “shows the continued respect and commitment to our community,” being a vital step “to spread awareness of both the issues veterans face and, when given a shot, the potential to succeed in an environment like Princeton.”
Following Roemer’s speech, two musical pieces were performed and Gabriel Challik ’24 played Taps. To conclude the event, Princeton’s Assistant Dean for Muslim Life Khalil Abdullah offered Benediction, and the colors were retired.
After the service, the Princeton ROTC program had their public contracting ceremony and were sworn in as cadets. There was also a reception at Murray-Dodge Hall after the service.
Izabela Konopka is a news contributor for the 'Prince.' She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.