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OUS program offers tribute to veterans

As they go through wars and conflict, it’s the camaraderie that develops within a unit that sustains those members of the military.

“A lot of time that is all you have for your support,” Capt Tyler Virgin of the U.S. Army told an audience Thursday at a special veterans ceremony at Ohio University Southern.

The event was part of the third annual Frank J. McCown Lecture Series at the campus entitled “Honoring our Veterans: Past, Present and Future.”

Virgin, who recently returned from tours of duties in Iraq and Afghanistan, presented a slideshow of his experiences there from showing the terrain to the culture of the area.

Among the slides were many showing the troops interaction with the children of the two countries, especially when the soldiers would dispense soccer balls and other items to them.

“That was always a high event for the kids,” Virgin said. “It was always a good moment when we would bring happiness to them.”

Also appearing was singer Katie Owens, an OUS middle childhood education student who offered several patriotic-based songs.

The keynote speaker was Major John Hansen, assistant professor of military science at Ohio University, Athens.

Hansen, who was born in Nebraska and reared in Minnesota, went into the Army originally as a way to finance his college education.

“I never dreamed I would be in the Army,” he said. “I thought I’d do my three years, get my college money and get a life.”

However those three years turned into a 22-year career with 17 years spent as an officer. As the Army’s recruitment totals are exceeding their quotas, there is now a greater need for qualified officers, he told the audience.

And becoming an officer can open many doors in civilian life, he said.

“They know how to lead and get things done. They’re willing to lead and want to take charge in good times and bad times,” Hansen said. “And through it all the American people have supported the young men and women who choose to give.”