Statement by President McKay on Veterans Day


November 11, 2020

Every year on this day, Americans honor the service, sacrifice, and courage of our nation’s veterans. In particular, our student veterans are on my mind today, as I think about their own contributions to our nation, whether preserving our country’s liberties in uniform, or giving back to the community as Penn State graduates. Their service to our country and to this University provide me with a terrific sense of pride, and I am truly grateful to have them at this institution.

There’s a rarity and uniqueness in the hearts of those who serve in our Armed Forces. They, like our nation’s healthcare workers, first responders, and civil servants, have accepted the calling to serve others, and as such embody the values which every American ought to strive for in their daily lives: selflessness, resilience, honor, and integrity. 

I’ve seen the sacrifices of those who’ve served firsthand, and have grown ever more appreciative of their service because of it. I can remember my grandfather, Wesley, or as we’d call him, ‘Pap-Pap,’ recounting stories of his involvement as a Marine at the Battle of Iwo Jima when I was younger. I can only imagine the commitment necessary to endure such a critical conflict during the Second World War. Similarly, I can recall hearing about — and seeing through the examples of cousins and friends — the sacrifices the families of those who serve have had to make. It’s important to remember these families’ contributions on this day, too. 

To those who have worn the uniform before—thank you, from the bottom of my heart. This nation and this University owes you a tremendous debt, on Veterans Day, and every day.

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