Administrators, faculty, students and members of the community united in front of Weatherford College’s new academic building Thursday morning to honor veterans in celebration of Veterans Day, which is Sunday.
Crowds milled about, conversing and thanking many veterans who showed up to the event, as the Weatherford College Howlin’ Band brass section played the opening music.
Following the opening prayer by Battle of the Bulge veteran Chuck Katlic, Weatherford College president Kevin Eaton opened the ceremony by recognizing several in the crowd, including board members Frank Martin and Luke Haynes, who are also veterans.
“We recently celebrated our 143 birthday, and throughout those years, there have been many conflicts and wars,” Eaton, a veteran himself, said. “But the important thing is that we’ve always been here for our veterans and to help them further their education.”
One of the highlights of the day included the recognition of the flag plaza, and its presentation to Ed Kramer and his family, of who the plaza was named after.
“This has turned out to be a lovely day and an even lovelier crowd,” Kramer said. “One of our family’s highest honors has been to provide partial funding of this beautiful facility.
“We found this to be an appropriate opportunity to honor Weatherford and honor our veterans.”
The Weatherford College choir followed up Kramer’s speech with a rendition of the national anthem, and Doug Jefferson, executive director of student life and housing, performed America the Beautiful on his keyboard.
Brent Baker, WC’s vice president of institutional advancement, announced the raising of the flags, as representatives raised one for each member of the armed forces, including the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines.
WC board president Martin stepped up to the podium to address the public as well as his fellow veterans, who were lined up along a pathway of flags.
“The first thing I want to say to you veterans is ‘Hey buddy, welcome home,’” he said. “Your sacrifice and your duty to our country deserves all of the honor and praise, and that’s why all of these people have come out to support you.”
Nashville recording artist Sonny Burgess stepped up to perform Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA.
To honor fallen troops, a wreath, representing the tomb of the unknown soldier, was presented, followed by an oral list of five Parker County soldiers who had been killed in action. A single toll of a bell marked each name.
The ceremony concluded with a prayer by Harold D. Thompson, Army chaplain and retired colonel.
Find more photos of Thursday's event at the college here.