College of the Ozarks dedicated The Global War on Terrorism Memorial on campus Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The memorial is the final installation in Patriots Park. It represents all modern warriors who have faithfully served and sacrificed in the name of freedom. This memorial also was designed and the bronze cast by artist James Hall of Nixa, Missouri. The warrior is depicted grieving over a Battlefield Cross, a symbolic cross representing a fallen hero killed in action.
Located at the entrance of the campus, Patriots Park is home to several memorials that highlight the valor of our country’s brave servicemen and women — The Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial, The Korean War Memorial, and The Global War on Terrorism Memorial. Patriots Park also includes the Greatest Generation Flag Plaza, which includes a bronze statue by artist James Hall, and Veterans Grove, which consists of nearly 150 sugar maple trees that honor Veterans who have traveled with the College as part of the Patriotic Education Travel Program.
Guests to campus are welcome to visit Patriots Park daily, from sunrise to 10 p.m.
Pete Hegseth, co-host of FOX News Channel’s Fox & Friends Weekend and Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran, served as keynote speaker. During Hegseth’s address, he reminded all who attended that through supporting the memorials, they are on the front lines in the fight for freedom.
“This College is a living memorial because it remembers what our founders stood for,” Hegseth said. “It remembers why our World War II Veterans went to fight the Nazis. It remembers what we did in Korea. It remembers the Vietnam Veterans. It remembers the Cold War warriors, our warriors in Desert Storm, and every conflict in between that never gets a memorial. We remember those who put country, God, and community above themselves and were willing to give everything. Today, you honor the Global War on Terrorism generation.”
The memorial was built by College of the Ozarks students and staff and made possible by a gift from Johnny Morris and the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge golf tournament. The College is one of the charitable beneficiaries of the tournament.
Great American Award
During the ceremony, Davis honored General Terrence R. Dake and Chief Warrant Officer Justin McGee with the Great American Award, which is given as special recognition to individuals whose lives, careers, and service reflect the highest ideals of American values.
Dake, a 1964 graduate of C of O, is the former assistant commandant of the United States Marine Corps and flew countless missions during the Vietnam War and in Operation Desert Storm. He spoke about the significance of the memorial for the College, and the personal significance to him as a Veteran and a C of O alumnus.
Dake was advanced to the rank of general and assumed the position of Assistant Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps, in 1998. During his military service, he was presented with the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal with Combat “V” with the numeral “2” in lieu of second award and the numeral “31,” and the Navy Commendation Medal.
Justin McGee was a junior at College of the Ozarks on 9/11 when the United States was attacked. He left the College and enlisted in the Army. He has served with the 5th Group Special Forces ever since, deploying eight times to the Middle East. He is currently stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He and his wife, Lydia, live in Tennessee with their three children, Uriah, Gabriel, and Havilah.