Andover Students and Faculty Come Together To Commemorate Veterans’ Day

Andover students and faculty gathered to recognize wartime veterans in an observance that emphasized the service of Andover faculty and alumni this past Thursday. The ceremony included American flags alongside the nameplates of 14 community members that have served in the military. Anne Gardner, Director of Spiritual and Religious Life, organized the event and made the opening remarks. Gardner said, “I wanted to recognize, in a very public way, people who have enlisted and put themselves in a position where they ultimately could have made the biggest sacrifice that anyone could have made, to lose their lives for the ideals of the United States. That, to me, is worthy of a lot of recognition.” “I also [hoped] everyone here [would] recognize the people within our own community that have served in the military and offer them an opportunity to thank them,” Gardner continued. Gardner asked for permission from veterans on campus to publicly display their names, ranks and branches of the military. “A visual reminder of how many people on our campus actually are veterans [would be powerful], since there’s actually quite a number,” she said. Gardner said she hoped the observance would make Veterans Day more relevant to students. She said she organized the event to help community members better connect with veterans. Participants of the observance had the opportunity to sign cards addressed to Andover alumni that currently attend military academies. The care packages were then sent to five alumni, including Adam Tohn ’10, who attends United States Military Academy at West Point, and Ainsley White ’10, who attends the United States Naval Academy. “An idea came to me to do something for Andover alums, many of whom the students know,” said Gardner. “All of them, because of their enrollment in those academies, will be commissioned and enter military service and will be veterans someday, so this was a way to connect in a more visceral way the experience of military service with the students.” “I asked veterans on our own campus to participate in the program, and luckily Mr. Efinger and Mr. Joel agreed,” said Gardner. Mark Efinger, Instructor in Theater and Dance, read the Presidential Proclamation for Veterans Day while Christopher Joel, Manager of Business Services, followed as a speaker. “Mr. Joel just talked from his own heart about his experience in the military, why he did it and why it was important,” said Gardner. Last year, Andover celebrated Veterans Day with an All-School Meeting that invited alumni veterans to speak about their experiences. “This year it fell outside of [a Wednesday], so I wanted to do something that was open so as many kids or faculty or staff could come,” said Gardner. “I think it went really well. There were a lot of people there, the weather cooperated, a lot of people signed the cards and I think people appreciated the cupcakes that Paresky Commons made,” she continued. Gardner ended the observance by encouraging participants to read the names recognized on the nameplates and personally thank the veterans.