SIDNEY — The skies were chill and cheerless Monday morning at Montcalm Community College, the last vestige of autumn’s waning warmth little more than memory.
But lowering clouds did little to deter those who gathered in the Donald C. Burns Administration/Library Building of the college’s Sidney campus to honor America’s veterans.
The annual event, which the college has been hosting since 2008, drew a record number of attendees.
According to Dean of Instruction and Faculty Gary Hauck, formerly a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain, he instituted the Veterans Day ceremony shortly after coming to the campus four years ago.
“Since then, it’s been growing each year,” Hauck said. “Turnout this year was very good. We had quite a few folks from the community come, in addition to the students and staff.”
At Monday’s event, Hauck spoke of the importance of remembering and honoring the men and women who have served, and currently are serving, in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“It’s only good and proper that on this day we pause in silence to remember those who gave the ultimate to preserve our freedom,” Hauck said. “We are joined today by hundreds of college campuses and university campuses all around the country who are performing this very same ceremony.”
MCC Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Spohr read a list of all the faculty members and students from the college who have served in the military. The list was quite extensive.
“As you can see,” Spohr said, “we have a very good representation from MCC.”
Former Army National Guard Chaplain Dan Thompson offered up a prayer of thanks for those who served, saying, “We are thankful for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and pray for the families grieving over the loss of loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
MCC Performing Arts Coordinator Valerie VanderMark brought the ceremony to a close by leading those in attendance in a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
A luncheon followed in the Doser Building.
“The luncheon gave us a chance to share war stories and stories of our military backgrounds,” said Hauck, adding that the college will likely host the annual event for many years to come.