Geoff Davis to honor veterans

Northern Kentucky University will pay homage to the men and women who have served their country in the Armed Forces when the university hosts the 2005 Northern Kentucky Regional Veterans Day Commemoration Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. in the Otto Budig Theater.

The program will feature keynote speaker Congressman Geoff Davis, a former Army ranger and assault helicopter commander who served in the Middle East in the 1980s. It will showcase Director of Campus Recreation Steve Tribble, an Iraq War veteran, as master of ceremonies.

This year’s celebration, which is a co-sponsored by Student Government Association, Phi Alpha Theta History Club, the Xavier University ROTC, and several other community and veterans’ organizations, has grown from commemorations in previous years.

“This is the fourth annual celebration and it’s the premier Veterans Day event in Northern Kentucky,” said Branden Kiely, SGA vice president of administrative affairs, said.

Dean of Students Kent Kelso, a speaker at the commemoration and an organizer of the event, hopes that the program touches both students and the community.

“It will be very moving and thought provoking,” he said. “There will be real life stories and things that people can wrap their hands and their hearts around.”

Kelso emphasized honoring veterans, especially in light of the war on terror.

“We have veterans in the making right now; people giving their lives. We need to recognize them and the people that have gone before them and done the same thing,” Kelso said.

“We see veterans coming out of the Iraq War that are our own age. It’s important for students to realize that veterans can be right next door,” Kiely added.

Tribble brings a unique perspective to the commemoration. As an Iraqi War veteran who served with the US Army Reserves and returned from Iraq in March 2005, Tribble is excited to share his experiences as a soldier and represent NKU at the same time.

While stationed at Camp Taji, an Army base north of Baghdad, Tribble named one of the streets on the base Norse Avenue in honor of NKU. Now that he’s back at home, he is encouraging students to, “come out in force” to show support for veterans no matter what their views on the war are.

“People need to realize that the soldiers are there (in Iraq) because they are ordered to be there by law,” he said. “So whether you support the war or not, it’s still important to get out there and support the troops.”

The commemoration will include performances from the Departments of music, theater and dance, and an invocation by Monsignor Gilbert Rutz, vicar general of the Diocese of Covington, as well as a drill from the Xavier University ROTC and Veterans Day video presentations.

“It’s my hope that we get students, faculty and staff to attend,” Kelso said, “and that people from the community make a choice to stand with us as we reflect on what our veterans have sacrificed for us.”