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UTPB community honors veterans

Dr.+Robert+Bescia%2C+U.S.+veteran+and+executive+director+of+the+John+Ben+Shepperd+Public+Leadership+Institute%2C+takes+the+podium+as+keynote+speaker+for+UTPB%27s+celebration+ceremony+of++U.S.+veterans.+
Dr. Robert Bescia, U.S. veteran and executive director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute, takes the podium as keynote speaker for UTPB's celebration ceremony of  U.S. veterans.

Dr. Robert Bescia, U.S. veteran and executive director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute, takes the podium as keynote speaker for UTPB's celebration ceremony of U.S. veterans.

Nicole Glenn

Nicole Glenn

Dr. Robert Bescia, U.S. veteran and executive director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute, takes the podium as keynote speaker for UTPB's celebration ceremony of U.S. veterans.

Evan Mitchell, Political Columnist and Writer

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Nicole Glenn

UTPB President Dr. Sandra "Sandy" Woodley addresses the outdoor crowd during a Veteran's Day ceremony.

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) community recently evidenced consideration for American veterans. This was proven on Nov. 10, when the University conducted an event to thank and honor any and all troops that served to protect United States’ freedom.

It was cold outside where the event was to take place, but all of the seats were packed—so much so that a crowd of people had formed around the seats and all were enthusiastic about the ceremony and showing their support. There was a crowd of band members on the “stage” formed by a hill. The U.S and Texas flags had been returned to full-staff, having been previously half-staff for the Sutherland shootings in Texas the previous Sunday. Dr. Roy Counts approached the podium and when he did, the crowd fell silent. Counts introduced the ceremony and opened with some passionate words: “A sense of honor and pride should be felt when we look up and see our nation’s flag. Seeing the red, white, and blue colors should remind each and every one of us of the sacrifice that was performed granting us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Dr. Susan Woodley, the president of UTPB, welcomed everyone, and then students from around Odessa led the Presentation of Colors followed by student-led Pledge of Allegiance for both the nation and the state of Texas. The crowd was extremely respectable and quiet. Everyone there was there for one reason, and that was to honor the troops.

The band was on cue, and they played wonderfully. They played the national anthem the “Star Spangled Banner” followed by “America the Beautiful.” It was well orchestrated and sounded amazing. The crowd was silent as a feeling of national pride swept over them.

The keynote speaker of the ceremony was Dr. Robert Brescia, executive director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute. Brescia has 27 years of public service in the military. He spoke with passion and experience when he talked about the “individuality of veterans and the great Americans they are.” He says, “I hope you come away with an appreciation for the individuality of all those who sport the title of veteran.” He talked about the different returning environments of different war-era veterans, and how they were treated. He talked about the hard times that veterans had to go through saying, “The road to freedom led directly through the valley of death.” He also talked about the tough times that vets deal with when they return home, “Battle stress and fatigue, family separation issues, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are taking their toll on these heroes.” The speech he gave was one of gratitude and of a call to action. That we as a nation, as a state, and as a city have to help the heroes who helped protect us. It was a speech that simultaneously made one proud and passionate about the soldiers returning home from war with troubles and difficulties.

It was a great ceremony that rallied together a patriotic spirit among the campus. The music was fantastic and seeing all the troops show up was an amazing experience. I asked Dr. Susan Woodley, the president of UTPB, “Why did UTPB host this event today?” She responded “Everywhere in the nation this is a day of remembrance, and we have so many among us, whether student, faculty, or staff who either served or have family and others who have sacrificed for the freedom of this nation. So we are honored to be able to honor our veterans today.”

 

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UTPB community honors veterans