Julie Allen, Guest Contributor~
Exactly one hundred years ago, the world celebrated Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. The most terrible war that the world had ever known, World War I, had finally come to an end.
On our little Lynchburg campus, classes were cancelled for the day to make preparations for a great celebration. Around a large bonfire students gathered for speeches and patriotic singing. Every November since, we have celebrated Armistice Day, which was renamed Veterans Day in 1938.
On November 11th, we honor the sacrifices made by all of our military men and women.
Life was very different one hundred years ago at the Virginia Christian College, which would be renamed a year later as Lynchburg College. Each day the students rose to the sound of a bugle playing Reveille, and the end of each day was heralded by the sound of Taps.
Virginia Christian College was one of 400 colleges that housed a company of the Students Army Training Corps, by which college men were trained to be military officers. At the time, Carnegie Hall dormitory was essentially a barracks for the Corps.
From its inception, the University of Lynchburg has had close ties to our Veterans. Our current President, Dr. Garren, is a Veteran, as was our founder, Josephus Hopwood, who served three years as a Union Soldier in the United States Civil War.
As a teen, Hopwood was impressed by Abraham Lincoln, as he witnessed one of Lincoln’s campaign speeches. After the war, Josephus was determined to spend his life making the world a better place through education, and he was especially concerned for the people in the Southern United States. He noted that “their country has been torn up by the War and they need us to help rebuild again.” He trained to be a teacher, and of course, he later founded Virginia Christian College with a tiny bit of money and a huge amount of faith. Here we are today, still reaping the benefits of his courageous sacrifice and faithful service.
We currently have four undergraduate students who are actively serving. Did you know that last year two of our students left campus for a period of time to assistant with hurricane disaster relief efforts? They managed to remain full-time students and still serve when they were called.
The University of Lynchburg also has about a dozen active duty students taking online courses in the School of Health Sciences, two of which are stationed overseas. You may notice banners and digital signage around campus in the next week or so thanking our Veterans for their sacrifice.
We all have family members and friends who have served and continue to serve in our nation’s military. So be sure to share your gratitude for their willing service.