Due to COVID-19 precautions, Pittsburg State decided to stream their Veterans Day ceremony this year in lieu of an in-person ceremony.
On Nov. 11, PSU hosted their annual Veteran’s Day event. It was held at the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not a live audience at this event, but the broadcast was streamed live at 11 a.m, and then shown again later at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on YouTube, Pittstate.tv, Facebook Live, and Caps-13. The time of the first broadcast was significant as it represents the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” in 1918 that signaled the end of World War I.
The broadcast included the stories of four different war veterans: Louis “GeGe” Sachetta, a former miner with Big Brutus who served in World War II, Gene Corsini, a local pilot who served in Vietnam, Dr. Ron Seglie, a local physician that served in Operation Desert Storm, and Chris Kmiec, a local police detective who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I always looked up to Veterans, especially my grandfather,” Kmiec said. “I just always looked up to that and thought that I should do my part.”
The Veteran’s Memorial has over 3,400 engraved pavers that honor veterans and veterans’ organizations. There are also 50 state flags featured on the north berm.
“I really proud of the fact that I served, that I was in the navy,” Corsini said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I made lifelong friends.”
The broadcast began with a presentation by the ROTC Color Guard, and the Star-Spangled Banner sung by the PSU choir.
“It’s always meant that we carry on the tradition of remembering those who gave their last full measure in a lot of ways,” Seglie said. “Those who lived afterwards, we honor you to say that the country thanks you for your service.”
Veterans sacrifice throughout their lives to serve in the military. Some become separated from their families and endured harsh conditions in deployment.
“There was about a 100 of us that put ourselves in harm’s way,” Corsini said. “We got shot at every day, by everything that you can imagine.”
Sachetta had the opportunity to serve with his five brothers.
“We all made it home safe and sound,” Sachetta said. “Our mother sat on a chair night after night and prayed that for us to get home safe and sound.”
The broadcast was sent to all sixth grader teachers in Pittsburg, along with an outline to teach younger students about the importance of honoring veterans and the memorial.
“It’s very meaningful to me, because everyone takes the time to appreciate the sacrifices that were made.” Said Kmiec. “It’s important for future generations to realize that and to realize the sacrifices that were mind.”
After the veteran’s stories, the PSU choir sang “America the Beautiful” with footage of veterans’ plaques and the memorial. The event then closed with April Hodges, senior in music, playing “Taps” on trumpet to honor members of all five branches of the military.
“Everybody sacrificed something, and I don’t want anyone to ever forget about that,” Kmiec said.