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Employee Engagement

NC State Honors Veterans

NC State Honors Veterans
NC State honored military heroes during a ceremony held at the Memorial Belltower on Veterans Day.

When Jacqueline Shorter saw people running in formation and yelling military cadences as they participated in a 5K last week, it reminded her of her service in the Marines.

“It was very emotional to see that and hear those cadences,” Shorter said. “It does something to you — sends a little chill down your spine.”

The 5K was part of a campuswide event honoring veterans. Jeffrey Wright Military and Veteran Services and Army ROTC held the event on Veterans Day at the Memorial Belltower, which was built to honor NC State alumni killed in World War I. Roughly 200 people participated in the run, and 100 more attended a short ceremony that followed the 5K.

Runners took off from the Belltower in waves starting at 6 a.m. As they returned to the monument, a color guard dressed in World War I attire played bagpipes and drums. The ceremony following the run kicked off at 7 a.m. at Henry Square, the plaza at the base of the Belltower.

Veterans Day 5k
About 200 people participated in a 5K run held as part of a Veterans Day event at NC State.

“The Belltower is the most iconic landmark at NC State,” said Nick Drake, director of Military and Veteran Services. “It’s used on everything. For us to be able to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families in the presence of the Belltower is pretty significant.”

During the ceremony, Tom Stafford, a former vice chancellor for student affairs at NC State, acknowledged the 100th anniversary of the laying of the first cornerstone of the Belltower, which took place in November 1921. The Raleigh Sister Cities organization placed a vase of poppies inside the Belltower. Poppies are the enduring symbol of remembrance of World War I.

For Shorter, the ceremony marked her first time attending a Veterans Day ceremony. She served in the Marines from June 2008 to February 2017 and achieved the rank of sergeant. While in the Marines, she was a suicide prevention instructor.

Now Shorter is enrolled in a master’s-level English literature program at NC State and is a work-study student in Military and Veteran Services. As part of her duties, she helped organize last week’s event.

“I absolutely loved seeing the support for veterans,” she said. “It definitely brought back memories from being in the service and when we had to go on runs.”

Drake, who served in the Army Reserve from 2000 to 2010 and re-enlisted in 2015 as a member of the North Carolina Army National Guard, said the Veterans Day ceremony is a significant event for the veterans’ community at NC State.

“This ceremony is taking that step to say, ‘Hey, we acknowledge that you and your families have sacrificed so much, and we appreciate you,’” Drake said.