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The Information Commons Atrium at Ozarks Technical Community College was filled with people—both veterans and non-veterans—Monday morning. They were there to honor those who have served our country, including an OTC graduate who died in the line of duty. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has this report.
OTC’s Veterans Day Ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the OTC Choir singing the National Anthem.
The ceremony honored Sgt. Joseph Peters, an OTC graduate who died when his Ranger Unit came under attack October 6 in Afghanistan. Lt. Colonel Loren Lundstrom, assistant dean at OTC, called Peters a hero.
"As earlier generations fought back the oppression of facism and communism, a new generation of heroes has risen to preserve democracy against the tyranny of terrorism, and Sgt. Peters was one of those young heroes," he said.
Peters was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, the Combat Action Badge and the Purple Heart.
The OTC Board recently recognized Peters’ service and sacrifice with a resolution. And a scholarship has been established in Sgt. Peters’ name. Peters’ parents, Dennis and Debbie, announced a $7500 gift to endow the Special Agent Sgt. Joseph Peters Memorial Scholarship at the ceremony.
Dennis Peters, veterans’ services representative at OTC, spoke with his wife at his side while his grandson, Sgt. Peters’ son Gabriel, played in the background. He thanked all those who have been there for them in the last few weeks.
"It has been a time of sorrow and sadness for our family, all who knew Joseph and all those who have come to know since his death," he said.
Peters encouraged everyone to remember the veterans on the ground, in the air and on the sea who are working to guarantee our freedom.
"How I wish we could live in a world where our sons, daughters, mothers, dads, brothers and sisters did not need to stand between us and those who would do us harm, but we do not. So, let me just say God bless the US Military," he said.
The enemies may have taken away Joseph’s life, according to Peters, but they cannot take away his heroism, his legacy or the light within him. The scholarship, he says, will be a reminder of that light.
The Peters family, at the request of Senator Roy Blunt, was presented with a flag that had flown over the United States Capitol.
The ceremony concluded with the playing of Taps.
For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.