Past mingled with present as veteran and active duty military men and women gathered at Thomas University for a brunch to honor their service to our country.
Active and retired Air Force officers spoke to the assembled group about the need to take care of veterans and preserve their legacy for future generations.
Says C.M.Sgt. Kenneth Lilly, "Military veterans normally don't ask for anything in return. A lot of times, they will be forgotten, and it's important that we acknowledge and say 'thank you' to those people who came before us."
Retired C.M. Sgt. Jack Hadley adds, "These are moving stories that we hear and I think they need to continue to be told -- the young people today need to continue to hear these stories."
Many of Thomas University's students are either active or retired military, who say they wouldn't trade their military service for anything.
Sgt. Major Lester Hayes retired in 2005, and is finishing his undergraduate work at Thomas University. He says though he enjoys this new, collegiate chapter of his life, he wouldn't trade his military service for anything.
"[Serving in the military] impacted my family in such a way that it would take me the rest of my life to try to pay back for the opportunity - or even the blessing - I was given to serve," says Hayes.
School officials say, thanks to the numerous programs and scholarships they have that are tailored to active duty personnel and veterans, they've been designated as a 'military-friendly' school - a distinction only 15 percent of universities in the nation will receive.
Regardless of military or civilian status, everyone present at the event agreed: Thomas University's tradition of supporting, thanking, and honoring veterans will carry on for years to come.
School officials at TU say they have even bigger plans for next year's Veterans Day event, including joining forces with other veteran benefits organizations.
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