GMC News

A Message from President Caldwell on Veterans Day

There are very few feelings more satisfying and poignant than the one I get when I see an elderly man wearing a cap that says “World War II Veteran.” Even though he’s in his late nineties or has hit triple digits now, that cap erases all the signs of age and restores his youth in the mind’s eye. You realize he’s hunched over now because, once upon a time, this man carried the weight of the world on his shoulders and played his part in a massive international effort that literally saved the world from evil. And that’s why he’s still wearing that cap eighty years later and will continue to wear it until the day he dies. Because of what he was a part of, and is so proud of that service.

Today, grandfathers wear hats that say “Vietnam Veteran.” License plates and bumper stickers tell of purple hearts awarded to those wounded in combat and others are service awards for exemplary service. And in a more subtle way, prosthetic limbs and scars— both internal and external— tell the world the service stories of our veterans from World War II to the Global War on Terror.

These vets should be overcome with pride on a daily basis for what they had the courage and strength to be a part of. There’s no job tougher and no adventure more profound than service in the U.S. Armed Forces. And the gratitude that is owed to our veterans couldn’t be properly conveyed even if we set aside every day to honor them. In the Hollywood films that gross billions of dollars worldwide, America’s heroes wear capes and shiny costumes. In reality, heroes wear camouflage and the American Flag as a patch on their uniforms.

We celebrate Veteran’s Day not because of the gratitude we owe those who have given so much. It’s a job, or as we say, a calling, that tends to attract the most selfless among us. Nobody joins to get rich or for an easy life. It’s a calling which asks a person to put everything on the line and to be willing to sacrifice of themselves for the good of our nation. Often, they are asked and expected to endure more than any human being should have to.

Today, that call to duty is answered entirely on a volunteer basis. Which means that our veterans and our servicemen and servicewomen share much more than a common uniform and a common objective. They share the qualities that lead a person to service: the commitment to country above self, the courage to answer a call that will push their every human limitation to its edge, and the willingness to sacrifice everything in order to protect the values that have made the United States a symbol of freedom throughout the world.

And in the end, the greatest reward it offers is that you were a part of everything that mattered most.

At Georgia Military College, we are tremendously proud of the men and women who started here and went on to serve our nation. Thousands of the U.S. veterans we honor today began their journey of service in a GMC classroom and went on to serve in every capacity in every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. That tradition of service fills every member of the GMC Faculty and Staff with both humility and pride, and it is a tradition we intend to continue and grow for generations.

To all our veterans and their families, from every member of your GMC Family, thank you for all that you have given in service to our great nation!


—Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, USA (Ret)

Leadership is our Legacy ….and Your Future!