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WKU honors veterans, unveils new panel at Guthrie Bell Tower

Bowling Green, KY - Western Kentucky University honored veterans, recognized the 100th anniversary of WKU's ROTC program and unveiled a new granite panel at Guthrie Bell Tower on Friday (Nov. 9) during the annual Veterans Day ceremony.

"Today, we pause to reflect on the freedom that each of us enjoys - freedom that indeed is not free," WKU President Timothy C. Caboni said. "We remember the tremendous cost that has been paid as we recognize the service and sacrifice of our nation's military veterans. What we know is that each of us, in some way, endeavor to make a difference and to make the world a better place. The path that we choose to do so varies greatly, but we know that the price our veterans paid came at a higher cost than most.

"Here, at the Guthrie Bell Tower, we look upon the images of those who sacrificed so much in order for us to live freely. Some gave all, including the tower's namesake, Robert Guthrie. In honor of the 100 year anniversary of the ROTC program at WKU, we are pleased today to unveil a new panel for the Guthrie Bell Tower -- featuring 18 more images symbolic of our military heroes."

The new panel includes the following: Lieutenant Commander John Magda, Sergeant Frank Potts, Colonel Ray Nutter, Dr. Jerry Martin, Colonel Arthur "Mac" Reynolds, Captain John Holland, Brigadier General Victor Strahm, Sergeant Elvin Smith Sr., Willa Brown, Colonel Jackie Carwell, Colonel Arnie Franklin, Sergeant George Tinius, Sergeant Lashawnte Smith, Staff Sergeant Hardin Field McChesney, Colonel Gary "Mickey" Riggs, Lieutenant Colonel James Miles, Sergeant First Class Leigh Ann Hester and Lieutenant Colonel Ken Hightower.

"Without walking in their shoes, we cannot understand the trials and the hardships they endured as they served, fought for and protected our nation." President Caboni said. "They demonstrated the epitome of selflessness and loyalty to our country, and we remain grateful for each of them. I hope that all who pass by, and each who sees this tower from a distance, are reminded of the service, bravery and sacrifice of all of our veterans around the globe."

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie said the tower serves as a reminder of the sacrifice that his uncle, Robert, and other veterans have made in service to our nation. "We remember what you did for us," he said. "We remember what my uncle did for us, what everybody on here did for us, what Lt. Eric Yates has done for us. It is a great privilege and honor for us to be a part of it as a family and for me to bring you greetings from our country."

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton congratulated WKU on the 100th anniversary of ROTC and thanked veterans for their service.

Hampton also encouraged veterans to share their stories with family members and others. "Those stories are starting to disappear," she said. "We know that many veterans don't talk about what they did in the service. Whether you did something heroic or not, you played a role in shaping this nation and keeping this nation free."

President Caboni and LTC Thomas MacMillin, head of the Department of Military Science and Leadership, unveiled a replica of the new panel then participated in the wreath-laying ceremony.

Following the ceremony, the ROTC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Luncheon was held at the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Club at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The 2018 inductee was LTC Michael R. Kenney, a 1964 WKU graduate who retired from the U.S. Army in 1990.

This story was posted on 2018-11-09 21:39:57
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