Chancellor Cheek Thanks UT Veterans

Chancellor Jimmy G. CheekToday is Veterans Day, and I invite you to join me in saying “thank you” to all faculty, staff, and students who are in the US military or have previously served our country.

At UT Knoxville, we have 629 faculty, staff, and students who have self-reported as active-duty US military, veterans, reservists, or members of the National Guard.

Some of these men and women had a full career in the military before coming to UT. Others took a hiatus from UT to serve their country. Still others are juggling military life with classes or work responsibilities. They’ve devoted time and effort—and in some cases put their lives on the line—to ensure that all of us can live, work, and study in safety and freedom.

Today, we join more than 180 universities across the country in honoring the more than 6,300 American casualties of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. It began at 8:00 a.m. in Circle Park, where campus and community volunteers are reading the names of the men and women who have died in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, which is now called Operation New Dawn.

A remembrance ceremony will take place at 1:45 p.m. today in Circle Park. UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson will speak, and at 2:00 p.m., a national moment of silence will be observed on campus to honor fallen veterans. The roll call will continue after the moment of silence.

UT’s participation in the Remembrance Day National Roll Call is being organized by Veterans at UTK and sponsored by the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans. For more information on the event or the organization, visit http://web.utk.edu/~utkvets/.

Also this week, we’ve honored these members of the UT family by sharing daily stories about UT Knoxville students who are veterans and projects going on to help veterans and their families. To see all of these stories, go to http://tntoday.utk.edu/tag/veterans-day-2011.

We call ourselves the “Volunteers”—and call Tennessee “The Volunteer State”—because of the responsibility Tennesseans have taken in defending our country for the past 200 years. The state’s nickname stems from the Tennessee volunteer soldiers who played a prominent role in the War of 1812, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.

This valiant tradition is perpetuated today by the active-duty military and veterans on our own campus. I hope you will join me today in honoring our Volunteer legacy.

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