Norwich unveils plaque honoring alums who died in Global War on Terror

Family members of fallen soldiers in the Global War on Terror who were Norwich alumni solemnly stand at a new memorial plaque unveiled on Veterans Day.

Family members of fallen soldiers in the Global War on Terror who were Norwich alumni solemnly stand at a new memorial plaque unveiled on Veterans Day. Stephanie White photo.

  When Norwich held its Veteran’s Day ceremony on Nov 11 to honor all veterans, past and present, the university used the occasion to unveil a plaque honoring the six Norwich alumni who gave their lives in the Global War on Terror.
  It was cold and snowy as Norwich Cadets marched across the upper parade ground to pay their respect to those who served in the armed forces.
  The ceremony began as scheduled with the formation of cadets, followed by flyover of two F-16s assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing in Burlington.     The entire crowd turned to watch the skies as the jets roared overhead and disappeared behind Jackman Hall. “In honoring the Veteran’s Day ceremony, the air force had jets fly over Norwich which, in my opinion, was pretty amazing to see,” said Jose Garcia Padilla, a junior English major from San Francisco, Calif.
  After the jets vanished, the band began to march and play. “What followed after that was band’s call for the march to the Upper Parade Ground. I had the honor of initiating the fire with my gun crew,” said Padilla.
  The ceremony continued with the regimental band playing while the cadets marched off the Upper Parade Ground. Padilla said, “it was a really nice ceremony. All went as planned and I think it was a really nice way to pay our respects to those who have served our country over the years and remember the six cadets who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

  The guests of honor for the ceremony included President Richard Schneider and Brig. Gen. Jefferey Farnsworth, NU Class of ’86, who is the Army Safety Director and Commanding General the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center. Special for this year’s ceremony was the presence of the families of the six alumni who had fallen in combat, who came to see their loved ones honored and remembered.
  honored-plaqueThe speech by Brig. Gen. Farnsworth, a Vermont native from Vergennes, was clearly aimed at cadets and their role in future military service.
  “During his speech, he spoke to the corps of cadets as a whole. I was moved by how he thanked them for their commitment to this nation and made us all aware of our future commitment to our nation,” said Padilla. “I was surprised at how decorated he was, he obviously had a very accomplished career.”
  Following the speeches, the drill team conducted a 21-gun salute to honor the fallen veterans, and then a wreath was revealed in commemoration of the six Norwich graduates that died in combat. The end of the ceremony concluded with the Alma Mater, the university’s song.
  “I think it’s a good way for us to show our support for all veterans that have served,” said Alec Forezzi, a senior English major from Albany, N.Y. “It’s also nice to know that after we’ve finished school and served our country, people will do the same for us and show us support and thanks for what we will do for our country.”

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