Dr. Nido Qubein, High Point University president, speaks to more than 1,000 attendees during HPU’s Annual Veterans Day Celebration, reminding the crowd to never forget the sacrifices made by veterans.
HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 9, 2018 – Their hats said, “Army,” “Navy,” “World War II” and “Vietnam.” Their uniforms had Marine, Air Force and Coastguard patches.
And ready to greet them at High Point University’s Annual Veterans Day Celebration were hundreds of volunteers, a 60-foot wide American flag, complimentary breakfast, and a patriotic speaker and music.
More than 1,000 people attended HPU’s Veterans Day Celebration, held at 8 a.m. today in the Millis Athletic and Convocation Center on campus. Veterans were welcomed by students who presented them with “High Point University Loves Veterans” buttons.
High Point University President Nido Qubein told the audience that at HPU, patriotism is celebrated every day.
“This is a time of year when we shout from the mountaintop that we appreciate you, the service that you’ve rendered to this nation, the example that you set for all young people today, that you defend this country and that you stand for the principles and values on which it was founded,” said Qubein. “High Point University is a God, family and country school. Here we believe in God and the United States of America. Here we believe it’s a privilege to be an American and we need to be reminded of that.”
Ryan Manion, who is president of the Travis Manion Foundation and has dedicated her life to supporting the military and veterans, spoke at this year’s celebration. She leads a national organization inspired by the character, leadership and sacrifice of her brother, 1st Lt. Travis Manion, a U.S. Marine, who lost his life while serving in Iraq.
“High Point University is a very special place, and that’s evident not only today in this wonderful celebration of selfless service to our veterans, but in the values that this institution embodies every single day,” said Manion. “It’s evident in the overwhelming patriotism on this campus and the respect that you show to our nation’s veterans.”
Manion shared the last words her brother said before departing for his second tour in Iraq: “If not me, then who?”
“If I don’t go back to Iraq,” he said, “then someone much less prepared is going to go in my place. If not me, then who?”
“Veterans Day is a great opportunity for Americans to pause and say thank you to the courageous men and women who give so fully of themselves for the benefit of others,” said Manion. “I don’t just want to thank you. I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you to continue to live by the five words, ‘If not me, then who?’ Because the fact is, our country still needs you.
“And, that five-word mantra is not just limited to those in uniform. We can all live by ‘If not me, then who?’ Even if our sphere of influence is very small, or our actions seem insignificant, I promise you they are not. ‘If not me, then who?’ moments are around us all the time.”
Donald Jonson, a High Point resident and veteran of the Marine Corps, has attended HPU’s celebration for years.
“I look forward to this event every year,” he said during breakfast. “It’s nice to reminisce and feel respected at a place that puts so much effort into showing appreciation for our sacrifice. HPU truly goes above and beyond for veterans of the community.”
Greensboro native Milton Rountree, an Air Force veteran who served from 1971 to 1994 and was part of Operation Desert Storm, attended the annual event for the first time.
“The event is just fantastic,” he said. “From the moment we got off the bus and walked into the building, everyone has made us feel absolutely wonderful. It’s an honor to have served people like these students and volunteers who show this kind of appreciation.”
The event also featured music from Nashville recording artist Stephanie Quayle, the North Carolina Brass Band and the HPU Chamber Singers.
HPU’s celebration of veterans, which has grown significantly over the years, is supported by Ilderton Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Scott A. Tilley, CFA, BB&T Scott and Stringfellow, River Landing at Sandy Ridge, and the Sheriff Family Veterans Awareness Endowment.