Although Miles Penn has several family members who are currently serving in the military, he never thought he’d be one of them. But today, Airman First Class Penn addressed his fellow ‘Berg students, faculty and staff at the annual Veterans Day ceremony, organized by Student Senate.
Unsure about his future, Miles decided to take his dad’s advice and enlist in the U.S. Air Force. “I really found myself while I was there,” he said. “I saw people fighting for the same things I wanted to fight for.”
As a member of the military, Miles said he’s learned to appreciate the little things – even things like Veterans Day. He now has a deeper understanding of its meaning.
“It’s a tribute to those who fell in war, to those at war overseas and those in service right now,” he said. “It really touches all of us.”
As a visible demonstration of the truth of Miles’ statement, computer science and philosophy Professor Daryl Close, a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, asked those in attendance to raise their hands if they have a family member who has served or is currently serving. Nearly every hand was raised.
The camaraderie inherent with military service made a strong impression on both Miles and Daryl.
“Serving next to your brothers and sisters in arms is something very special,” said Miles, a sophomore psychology major from Columbus whose goal is to attend officer training school after graduation from Heidelberg. Daryl added, “My comrades helped me a lot (soon after he arrived for combat). “There were a lot of people working selflessly for a common goal.”
Service to country, he said, “is the most noble of all civic actions.”
Miles had a plea for his fellow students as the world navigates through uncertainty and turmoil. “We need to come together as one. I ask all of you … try your best to make the world a better place, because there are people out there doing that for us.”
Student Senator Abbey McKee emceed the event. The Singing Collegians performed the National Anthem and Tiffin’s United Veterans Council presented the colors, fired a 21-gun salute in honor of all members of the military, past and present, and played “Taps.” Campus Minister Paul Stark concluded the ceremony with a prayer for peace.