Men and women in uniform and those who have previously served joined over 100 faculty, staff, and students from Rose State College today to celebrate the sacrifices and accomplishments made to preserve the American way of life.
The annual “Celebrate Veterans” lunch is a long standing tradition at Rose State College. This year, like many before, the College invited active duty military, veterans, students, and community to come together to honor those who have served in the United States Military. Captain John “Irish” Keilty, a 26 year retired Naval Aviator addressed the crowd of more than 100 in attendance today.
Captain Keilty shared his views on the greatness of America and the ideals that make it the greatest country to live in. “When you hear about the greatness of America – She’s as great as it gets because we have…Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said Keilty. Not only does Captain Keilty have a long history of service to our country, but his family is continuing the legacy. His son-in-law, Captain Nick Morgans is an Air Force Combat Rescue Officer stationed at the Naval War College in Rhode Island. His daughter Kelly is in the Naval Reserves serving with Riverine Squadron 1 out of Norfolk as a medic and his son Jack is a Navy Fighter Pilot currently serving aboard the USS Truman Battle Group in Oceana, Virginia.
Captain Keilty inspired the crowd with stories of service and sacrifice including the history of the Marine Corp War Memorial – a 60 foot high reminder of the battle at Iwo Jima and the hope that was given by the sight of the American Flag flying atop Mount Suribachi. That hope lives on today, as Keilty described, in those who have fought and continue to fight to ensure the freedoms and the rights we have as American Citizens remain intact.
He concluded, “It’s our way of life that makes America great.”
Students rallied with Captain Keilty’s words. “He gave us a very compelling speech about the importance of supporting our veterans and showing thanks,” stated Jacob Slayter, sophomore at Rose State. “It put into perspective how much our veterans do for us and what it means to be an American.”
Photo: Captain John “Irish” Keilty addresses a crowd at Rose State College’s annual “Celebrate Veterans” lunch.