QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Last year, the SUNY Adirondack Veterans Day ceremony had to be held inside Adirondack Hall, as cold rain and high winds made an outdoor observance far from ideal. This year, though, was different.
On Thursday, local veterans and supporters gathered at SUNY Adirondack’s Vietnam veterans memorial outside the school’s humanities building, adjacent to Adirondack Hall. They heard from leaders not just of SUNY Adirondack, but the region in general – and learned about the work the college has undertaken to create a better educational ecosystem for the veterans learning there.
“When we go about our daily lives, we can easily forget that many in this world do not have a voice; do not have a freedom to vote and pursue their dreams; and do not have the ability to create a life that is filled with hope, love and comfort,” said SUNY Adirondack President Dr. Kristine Duffy. “I ask you today to commit to taking one small, daily action to be grateful for what you have.”
The ceremony opened with the posting of the colors by American Legion Post No. 522, of Corinth. SUNY Adirondack Student Senate President Jacob Carpenter sang the national anthem, leading into speeches by several officials.
SUNY Adirondack has just under 100 veterans among its student body on campus. Many of those students make use of the Randalls Veteran Center, called out by Dr. Duffy as an important community point for those who come to learn after their time in armed service.
Recently, that center has seen some expansion. A new peer-to-peer program this year has been connecting veterans across campus, giving them someone to go to for support, be it academic or personal.
That program’s leader, veteran Dr. Jeremy Duers, stepped up on Thursday as the ceremony’s special guest speaker. Dr. Duers spoke of military service in relation to partisan politics and political perspectives – a point salient just two days after Tuesday’s midterm elections.
“At a time when our country is more divided than ever, and every spoken or printed word can be attacked as partisan support for one or another politician, it might be best to look to our veterans, to help regain the country’s ballast,” Dr. Duers said. “Their experience can offer us perspective in such trying times.”
Duers went on to point to the behavior of both veterans who signed up for military service voluntarily, and those who were drafted, pointing to honorable conduct and punctuality in matters of importance. He also further accented the importance of connecting veterans with their peers – those who know what they’ve been through, and better understand the challenges of life following time in service.
New York State Assemblyman Matthew Simpson and Senator Dan Stec were also in attendance and spoke briefly. The ceremony concluded with a moment of silence and a performance of taps. More ceremonies can be found across the North Country and Capital Region on Friday, including the Field of Flags in Lake George.