Local veterans unite during ceremony

Cameron Jett

As a city that graduated over

15,000 navigators to serve in

WWII, Veteran’s Day means more

in Monroe.

To honor and show appreciation

for all those who have enlisted

and served the United States, the

university hosted a Veterans Day

ceremony on Friday and invited

all veterans in the area to be


Nell Calloway, the CEO of the

Chennault Aviation and Military

Museum and granddaughter of

Gen. Claire Chennault, served

as the guest speaker for the


Calloway said how important

each veteran in the room is to this

country. She said it’s important

to know that those who never

saw combat signed up with the

possibility of waking up to an

event like Pearl Harbor or 9/11

that would drive the U.S. into war.

Calloway personally thanked

each veteran for their service

following her speech. She said the

power of a standing military keeps

America safe and revered on the

world stage.

As she thanked each veteran, she

pinned a poppy to their shirt. The

poppy was a callback to the poem

“In Flanders Fields,” written by Lt.

Col. John McCrae who served in

World War I. In McCrae’s poem,

poppies fill the graveyards of the

soldiers who lost their lives in


Retired Capt. David Landrum

said he was “greatly honored” to

be recognized at the university he

graduated from in 1979. He also

said being surrounded by over 70

other people who served America

made him feel at home, even

though he had never met many of


Retired 1st Sgt. Yusef Simmons

said the event allowed him to

enjoy the “comradery” with other

veterans and how the military

changed their lives—even if they

served in different branches and

in different years.

He said that there is an instant

connection between people

who’ve served their country.

One thing he said he and other

veterans talked about is how the

military afforded them a better life

with more opportunities.

“It took me from being someone

with no college experience all the

way to getting my master’s degree,”

Simmons said.