The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina

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The Citadel, proud producer of military leaders, expands services for veterans


The Post & Courier
Published 11 November 2014

Lieutenant General John W. Rosa, USAF (Retired)
Class of 1973
President, The Citadel


Veteran’s Day, originally called Armistice Day, was designated as a time to celebrate the end of World War I. As I reflect on this holiday I am humbled by the service and sacrifices of young men and women who made the selfless decision to serve their country over these past 96 years./p>

This service has special meaning at The Citadel where cadets and graduates have fought in every conflict since the Mexican War of 1846, with many paying the ultimate sacrifice. Our cadets, many of whom will enter military service after graduation, understand servant-leadership and the impact they can have in the world regardless of their career. They leave The Citadel with a deep understanding of the importance of helping others. Just a few weeks ago we celebrated our annual Leadership Day. On that day cadets fanned out across the Lowcountry to support our community in many capacities ranging from Habitat for Humanity projects, to sprucing up our parks, to supporting Special Olympics. The Post and Courier headline said it all, “Everyday heroes”, but I can assure you our cadets thought the heroes were the people they were helping. That is servant leadership.

Many people question the character of today’s young men and women, but I can tell you firsthand this is an impressive generation of future leaders. Their integrity and selfless service make me proud and confident in the future of our country. We’ve had Citadel graduates on the front lines since the attacks of 9/11. Marine First Lieutenant Shane Childers, Citadel class of 2001, was the first American death in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Citadel graduates have continued to sacrifice ever since. With combat operations completed in Iraq and winding down in Afghanistan I urge you to continue supporting our veterans and their families.

On this Veteran’s Day when American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are still deployed in harm’s way around the world, I consider what we at The Citadel, a producer of military leaders, are doing to honor and assist them. Naturally, we pray for and support them and their families when and where we can, but we can do so much more − and we will. Strategic initiatives focused on expanding services for veterans are in motion; part of the college’s long range plan specifically dedicated to veterans.

The beginning of these expanded services is marked by the opening of The Citadel Military and Veterans Affairs Center this Veteran’s Day. The sole purpose of the center is to ensure that veterans and their families have the opportunity to further their education at a place that appreciates and understands their sacrifices and educational needs. This year we have more than 120 veterans enrolled at The Citadel. The military culture of the campus helps them feel comfortable as they integrate back into civilian life. Veteran students here often serve as mentors and role models for cadets. Many go on to earn master’s degrees at The Citadel Graduate College. We look forward to showing more veterans how we can help them achieve their dreams after they’ve defended our country. It is this synergy that helped The Citadel earn the U.S. News and World Report ranking as the #1 public college in its category for the fourth straight year.

The Citadel is also seeking partnerships with individuals, organizations and businesses wanting to increase their roles in honoring veterans and their families. Whether it’s joining us as a volunteer, giving to The Citadel to support a veteran’s education, or inquiring to discover how your businesses can hire more veterans, we appreciate the generous support of the people of the Lowcountry and welcome visitors at The Citadel’s Military and Veterans Affairs Center who would like to know more. We are honored to be part of a community that does so much for so many.

On this day set aside to honor our veterans, on behalf of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets and the entire Citadel community, I say thank you to our nation’s veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

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