Portland ROTC honor those who served on Veterans Day
With their hands clasped to their hearts — and the Pledge of Allegiance on their lips — Veterans Day arrived for the former soldiers and soldiers-to-be of Portland.
At the University of Portland, members of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps completed their round-the-clock guard of the campus' Praying Hands Memorial on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month: Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.
"It's like a family, the camaraderie that people have," said cadet Grace Yuquimpo, explaining why she had committed to military service. "It's really significant."
The freshman UP nursing major from Lakewood, Washington wants to combine her parents careers, as her mother is a nurse and her father served in the military. She applied and received a four-year ROTC scholarship that's paving her way forward.
"The way to be a leader is really taught well in ROTC," she noted.
This year's Veterans Day coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the conclusion of WWI.
The ceremony at the University of Portland was marked by a presentation of the colors, a recitation of the National Anthem and "Taps" and a final changing of the guard by the joint U.S. Air Force and U.S. Military ROTC cadets.
The school has some 4,500 graduates who served in the Armed Forces, including 80 who made the ultimate sacrifice. About 11 percent of adult Oregonians are veterans — part of the 21 million Americans across the 50 states who are current veterans.
At least 1,200 veterans in Oregon are believed to homeless, highlighted special guest speaker Nick Jones, a former naval intelligence officer who is now a board member for the Returning Veterans Project. He encouraged the students to find a "second service" they could practice long after they shed their uniforms.
Reverend Edwin Obermiller delivered an invocation addressed to the "God of peace."
"Turn the hearts and minds of our leaders and our enemies to the work of justice and peace," he said. "Give us all here present today creative vision to see a world that, growing weary with fighting, moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war."
A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Nick Jones.