I extend my thanks and appreciation to all who played a role in last weekend’s successful Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni reunion, which featured The Wall That Heals memorial on the Rogers State University campus on June 6-10. Organizers estimated that about 8,000 visitors came to our campus as a part of The Wall That Heals event, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation staff said our event was one of their best stops both in terms of organization and attendance. Our event even made national news, as alumni and friends from across the U.S. let us know when they saw the Claremore appearance prominently referenced on a Fox News national broadcast.
This kind of success is not an accident, and it serves as testament to the countless hours of work by OMA alumni, RSU employees, Oklahoma National Guard GOLD students from RSU and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and community volunteers. Throughout the week, we had hundreds of volunteers who came from many walks of life, including from more than 150 community groups and businesses, along with individual volunteers. These included area veterans groups, churches, law enforcement, fire departments, City of Claremore employees, and even area Boy Scouts who camped on the campus lawn as they watched over the site during the overnight hours. We also had a generous outpouring of support from local businesses and organizations that financially supported this effort. We heard from many visitors who expressed thanks to RSU, OMA alumni and our community for giving friends and family the opportunity to experience the power of The Wall first-hand here in northeast Oklahoma.
We are always honored to host our OMA alumni on campus for their annual reunion. OMA alumni support throughout the years has made possible many RSU initiatives, including building the Chapman Dining Hall, keeping the National Guard’s HOLD program on campus, and supporting student scholarships for deserving RSU students.
During Saturday’s OMA alumni luncheon, thanks to a sponsorship from Morgan Stanley, attendees were able to hear from Medal of Honor recipient Melvin Morris who shared his remarkable story of bravery and sacrifice. Originally from Okmulgee, Mr. Morris is one of only 72 living recipients of the Medal of Honor, which is the nation’s highest military recognition. Mr. Morris’ story – in combination with The Wall That Heals – re-emphasized to all who attended that freedom is not free.
Again, my sincere thanks to everyone in our community who made this event such a special moment on College Hill.
President, Rogers State University