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EAC commemorates Veterans Day

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[Click Image to Enlarge] Veteran and EAC student, Robert Stauffer, reflects on the sacrifice of veterans at the EAC Veterans Day commemoration. [EAC-Todd Haynie photo]

By Todd Haynie

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College students, faculty, and staff honored U.S. Veterans on Thursday with an event that included the unveiling of new bronzed plaques at the base of the College’s bell tower.

Opposite the frieze representing military service men and women, the inscription reads, “In memory of our veterans who sacrificed, suffered, fought, and died for the cause of liberty. Because of our veterans, the students of Eastern Arizona College enjoy the blessings of freedom to obtain an education and live in happiness.”

“The frieze is rich with symbolism,” explained EAC President Mark Bryce. “Initials of every citizen of Graham County who died in Vietnam and the single serviceman who died in Iraq are incorporated within the plaque.”

“Any nation that fails to recognize its veterans is in crisis; any nation that fails to honor its veterans cannot survive,” said Bryce. “We respect and honor the veterans of the United States. This tower is dedicated to them and their honor.”

Bryce placed a wreath with red, white, and blue flowers at the base of the tower and announced its new name—Memorial Tower—in memory of the four “pillars” of the EAC community: Veterans, Pioneers, Families, and EAC students, faculty, and staff.

A lone drummer, EAC student Daniel Reynolds, opened the ceremony as the Memorial Tower’s bells struck 11 o’clock. Representing the Associated Students of Eastern Arizona College, Cameron Mower, read In Flanders Fields, a poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. Three EAC student veterans, Robert Stauffer, Eric Felkins, and Clinton Cranford, spoke briefly about their military service, and students, staff, and faculty gave personal tributes to family members, colleagues, and friends who are veterans. EAC student, Tiffany Bigler, sang the Star Spangled Banner, and an EAC trumpet player, Matt Allen, performed Taps.