Statement on Veteran's Day
On this Veteran's Day weekend, we will all pause and remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have served this nation in our armed forces. We will be rightfully thankful for their service and their sacrifice. This year will be an especially important commemoration for the McConnell Center as we give thanks for the safe return of three of our alumni from service in Afghanistan: Captain Stacee Blackburn Cain ('04), Captain Jordan Glover ('06) and (former) Sergeant Greg Bird ('07).
Our joy, however, will be colored with pain as we continue to mourn the loss of one of our brightest stars; Captain Daniel H. Utley ('01), who died while serving in the west African nation of Mali. Dan was an outstanding McConnell Scholar and an exceptional young officer. He was killed while doing what he always wanted to do—serve those less fortunate and repay what he had been given. Since getting word of his death in April, I have carried the flag patch from his uniform in my pocket every day. On this Veteran's Day, I will remember Dan by retiring his patch again to the display case in my office, taking its place next to the rifle shell that paid him tribute at his funeral at Fort Bragg and a note he sent me from Afghanistan.
We will all remember and give thanks in our own ways, but we should all be thankful on Veteran's Day and every day.
- Gary L. Gregg, II
Director of the McConnell Center