By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
BUTLER, MERCER COUNTIES —
One of Slippery Rock University’s own returned Monday for the institution’s annual Veterans Day Observance, telling the crowd he is honored to have served among the 48 million men and women who have joined the U.S. Armed Forces since the Revolutionary War.
“Nearly half of them are alive today,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Jacobsen, a 1980 SRU political science graduate, now commander of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations headquartered in Quantico, Va.
Jacobsen was the guest speaker at the ceremony, which was held on the grounds of the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center.
He joined the Air Force in 1980 as a graduate of the SRU ROTC program, which he said helped prepare him well for his future; he oversees professional investigative services regarding fraud, counterintelligence and major criminal matters for 237 worldwide locations.
But Jacobsen was focused on recognizing those who have served, are serving and will serve, whether it’s on the ground, in the air, at sea, at home or overseas.
“They’re doing so admirably as the best trained force the world has ever seen,” said Jacobsen, who has also worked as a member of the Joint Staff and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon and received numerous awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
“They endure so the rest of us can live freely. God bless America and God bless our veterans,” he said.
SRU President Dr. Cheryl Norton also spoke, telling the crowd that as the university prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2014, she’s reminded of all of the veterans who have graduated from the school.
“Please join in me honoring all the veterans,” she said, asking the veterans in attendance to stand for recognition.
Lt. Col. Joseph Alessi, SRU professor of military science, was master of ceremonies. SRU Army ROTC cadets raised the colors, fired the cannon and presented a 21-gun salute.
Andrew Loose, a music education major and member of the SRU Marching Pride, played “Taps,” and Samuel Quadri, an SRU exploratory and an ROTC cadet, laid the wreath. Mike Crim, a 2011 SRU graduate, veteran and member of the SRU Alumni Association board of directors, also spoke.
The SRU Chamber Singers, under the direction of SRU assistant professor of music Stephen Barr, performed several songs and closed the ceremony with “God Bless America.”
A reception, hosted by the alumni association and the SRU Office of Alumni Engagement, was held in the Alumni House.
Published Nov. 13, 2013 in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.