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Sill CG speaks at Veterans Day observance

Fort Sill's new commander, Maj. Gen. Wilson A. "Al" Shoffner Jr., spoke to Cameron University students and others in attendance of the university's Veterans Day ceremony Friday in Veterans Grove on the north side of Howell Hall.

Shoffner assumed duties as the post's new commander on Thursday. He said he was humbled by the work that went into Friday's ceremony, which included placing 7,000 flags  representing soldiers who have died in recent wars, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq  around campus. The ceremony was coordinated by the university's Office of Campus Life.

"This is a day of recognition for all who have served in the armed forces," he said, "and to recognize their parents, spouses and children."

Shoffner said that since 1919 Americans have been recognizing their military veterans each year on a holiday that started out as Armistice Day to recognize World War I veterans and was later renamed Veterans Day to recognize military veterans of all wars.

"This weekend is the 99th year we have recognized all of those who have served in the armed forces," he said.

Shoffner said Cameron University is unique among college or university campuses because there are many soldiers attending classes and walking the halls along with other students who know someone in the armed forces.

"I encourage everyone to talk about their service in the Army and experiences long after their military service ends," he said. "Veterans come from a noble profession and use their experiences to go on to successful careers as doctors, educators, police officers and other occupations."

Shoffner said he hopes that issues concerning homeless veterans will continue to be addressed.

"We are a band of brothers and sisters who must take care of our own," he said. Shoffner attributed efforts to address the homeless vets to "I Count" and other local programs to assist those veterans in need.

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