April 25, 2019
College of the Ozarks dedicates The Global War on Terrorism Memorial, April 24, 2019Roses surround the base of The Global War on Terrorism Memorial, dedicated yesterday at College of the Ozarks. The roses are reminiscent of the yellow ribbon, which beckons service members to return home. (Photo by Veteran James Hatch)
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin McGee and his wife, Lydia, alumni of the College, are featured in a video presentation at the dedication ceremony. Justin McGee also received the Great American Award from the College.
A new statue completes the World War II Flag Plaza. The bronze was designed by James Hall of Nixa, Missouri. (Photo by Meg White)
Pete Hegseth, co-host of FOX News Channel’s Fox & Friends Weekend, serves as keynote speaker at the dedication. (Photo by Meg White)
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks dedicated The Global War on Terrorism Memorial on campus Wednesday, April 24. Approximately 1,675 people attended the ceremony. The Global War on Terrorism Memorial is the final installation in Patriots Park and will serve to honor the patriots of the Global War on Terrorism.
Opening remarks were given by Dr. Jerry C. Davis, College of the Ozarks president, and Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. General Terrence R. Dake, College alumnus and board of trustees chair, gave remarks on behalf of the College. Missouri Governor Michael Parson gave remarks on behalf of a grateful state. Pete Hegseth, co-host of FOX News Channel’s Fox & Friends Weekend and Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran, served as keynote speaker.
“It’s an honor to have guests here who reflect the sacrifice that has been made on behalf of this country,” Davis said, as he set the stage for the solemn event. “We are here to honor all Veterans.”
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.
“Hard Work U. is teaching, rearing, and raising young men and women who will be citizens and patriots of this great nation,”
Hegseth said. “We’ve lost so many men and women, and they never get the recognition. When I stand up here, I think about those in the dirt, still, in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and places unknown, laying in the dirt to defend our freedom and doing things that most people will never do. We think of them today. This memorial is for them.”
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.
“For however long it takes, this memorial will stand as the symbol to us in America that the war on terrorism must be fought and must be won,” Dake said.
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.
“This memorial that we celebrate today is not only a reminder of the past but also a reminder that we must be very vigilant to protect ourselves and our freedoms,” Morris said.
As the board chairman for College of the Ozarks, Dake challenged those present to continue the fight for freedom and to never forget the significance of the service men and women’s sacrifice.
“The purpose of this memorial that we are dedicating is to honor those who gave their lives so that we may remain free,” Dake said. “With this memorial, we also recognize the families. Some of them waited anxiously to hear about their loved ones. We honor them today as well. This memorial is a place where people can come and reflect.”
J. Mark McVey, Broadway actor and singer, sang “God Bless America,” joined by an honor choir from School of the Ozarks and College of the Ozarks. The College of the Ozarks Concert Band provided the musical backdrop for the ceremony.
The monument was unveiled by a group of Global War on Terrorism Veterans and friends of the College: Lt. Col. Kate Clarke, 35th Military Police Brigade Operations Officer and Gold Star Spouse; James Hatch, retired Navy Special Warfare Special Operator and his service dog, Mina; Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Commanding General, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Miller Brady, president of PGA TOUR Champions; Ben Crenshaw, PGA tour professional golfer; Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops; Missouri Governor Michael Parson; and Col. James Schreffler, associate professor of military science at College of the Ozarks. The group was assisted by ROTC Cadet Jonathan Plummer and GOLD candidate Talan Saylor, serving as marshals for the program.
College of the Ozarks Bobcat GOLD and ROTC cadets concluded the ceremony by placing yellow roses at the base of the memorial, symbolizing the yellow ribbon which beckons service members to return home.
“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.”
Great American Award recipients honored during ceremony
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 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.
About the memorial
The memorial was designed by artist James Hall of Nixa, Missouri. It represents all modern warriors who have faithfully served and sacrificed in the name of freedom. The warrior is depicted grieving over a Battlefield Cross, a symbolic cross representing a fallen hero killed in action. The fallen’s rifle is secured into the boots with an aviator’s helmet on top. Also depicted in bronze is a wounded service dog, symbolizing all dogs’ vital contribution in today’s modern warfare.
The bronze was installed in a raised structure, with landscape representing the terrain of Iraq and Afghanistan. The wall behind the bronze includes the seals of all military branches, and each seal is made of stained glass and handcrafted by C of O students. The monument is connected to The Korean War Memorial and The Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial by walkways, completing the master plan of Patriots Park.
The dedication of the memorial reflects the patriotic goal of the College: to encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it.
More about the speakers
General Terrence R. Dake — Dake flew countless missions during the Vietnam War and in Operation Desert Storm. He spent 34 years in the United States Marine Corps, holding numerous titles and receiving many significant awards. He also was pilot of Marine One for President Ronald Reagan.
Governor Michael Parson — Parson was sworn in as Missouri’s 57th governor on June 1, 2018. He stepped into the role of governor with over 30 years of experience in public service and vowed to continue helping his community. Parson previously served as the 47th lieutenant governor of Missouri. He was elected lieutenant governor on Nov. 8, 2016, after claiming victory in 110 of Missouri’s 114 counties and receiving the most votes of any lieutenant governor in Missouri history. Parson is a Veteran, having served six years in the U.S. Army, and is a strong advocate for agriculture, seniors, and tourism.
Pete Hegseth — Pete Hegseth currently serves as a co-host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) FOX & Friends Weekend (weekends 6-10AM/ET), as well as a senior political analyst for the network. He joined the network as a contributor in 2014. While at FNC, Hegseth has provided analysis and commentary across the network’s daytime and primetime programming. Prior to joining FNC, Hegseth held the position of CEO for Concerned Veterans for America. Previously, he was an infantry officer in the Army National Guard and has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. He holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman Badge for his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was recently promoted to the rank of major and is currently in the Individual Ready Reserve.
About Patriots Park
Patriots Park, located at the entrance of the College of the Ozarks campus, 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 Greatest Generation Plaza, and The Korean War Memorial. Patriots Park also includes 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.
About College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2019 and No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.
The Keeter Center — the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2019. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at www.facebook.com/collegeoftheozarks or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.
04.25.19 – Tara McCloskey