Andover Honors Community Veterans

Andover’s Veteran’s Day celebrations this week reflected the “quantum strides” that Andover has made in terms of veteran outreach, according to Andover’s website.

Standing in the frigid cold during last Friday night’s Pep Rally, Andover students, veteran alumni and faculty stood in formation on the Phelps Stadium turf to form the words “PA Salutes.”

Reverend Anne Gardner, Director of Spiritual and Religious Life at Andover, then announced the names of the veterans currently present at the ceremony, including Congressman-Elect Seth Moulton ’97.

The whole group, joined by spectators in the stands, began a rousing cheer of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Upon the song’s completion, students and alumni launched red, white and blue streamers into the air, cheering as they fluttered back to the ground.

“It was definitely a good tribute. [The commemoration was] rather impressive… this year,” said Chiraag Gohel ’16, spectator at the event.

General Barry McCaffrey ’60 spoke about the difficulties that the United States Congress needs to overcome in regards to national security at a dinner on Thursday, November 6.

“The single biggest long term threat to the American people and our allies is not the Taliban, it’s not ISIS, it’s weapons of mass destruction ­— and by that, I mean chemical, biological, nuclear and cyber-warfare,” said McCaffrey.

Andover’s highest ranking military graduate, Gen. McCaffrey served in the U.S. Army, as well as in the federal government as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) from 1996 to 2001.

“Right now we’re in the midst of a period in Washington when people are saying, ‘We’ve seen the end of warfare.’ Foot warfare, tank warfare, warfare at sea, that’s all past, [they say,] and what we’re going to think about [for the future] is small unit operations. Nation building. Counterterrorism. Counterinsurgency. And I would say that’s short-sighted,’ said McCaffrey.

“At the end of the day, the Andover boys and girls in the room today, before their age of 50, will see all forms of threats to our allies or the American people. And we’ve got to be prepared,” he continued.

According to McCaffrey, there is currently a sense of apathy in regards to defense against weapons of mass destruction. “Very few people talk about them. We have no champions in uniform or in Congress about maintaining America’s nuclear deterrence capability,” said McCaffrey.

The dinner, hosted by Andover in the Military, an Andover’s veteran alumni affinity group, was attended by Andover alumni, veterans, faculty and trustees.

Paresky Commons served around 500 red, blue and white cupcakes this past Tuesday to commemorate Veterans Day. The cupcakes were arranged in the Paresky lobby to resemble the American flag.

Flags were placed on the headstone of the 49 veterans which are buried in the campus cemetery.

Students signed letters to Alexi Bell ’13, Taylor Perkins ’12 and Christopher Kent ’11, alumni currently enrolled in one of the nation’s military academies.

Andover and the Military met on November 6 to discuss the publication of the next edition of the “Blue Guidon,” the organization’s newsletter. The “Blue Guidon” is a history project that will compile stories about the careers of Andover vets, the honoring of the 100th anniversary of WWI, a Civil War Memorial and the organization’s endowment fund.