Oct 08, 2021
College of the Ozarks students participate in annual CitizenTrip™ in Washington, D.C., New York City
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks continued the groundbreaking CitizenTrip™ that began in 2019 as part of their Patriotic Education Program. Once again, College of the Ozarks sent 150 students on a three-day, two-night intensive trip to Washington, D.C., at no cost to the students, Oct. 4-6. Students also visited New York City and paid homage to those killed in the tragic events of 9/11.
“The College is pleased to take a leadership role in making sure each of our students visits the nation’s capital,” said College President Jerry C. Davis. “Young people do not inherit knowledge of our exceptional country and its foundational principles; these things must be taught. Reading about places is one thing but visiting them is quite another. Friends across America are making it possible for a new generation of young people to understand the sacrifices which have been made for all of us.”
“I am beyond grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the College has provided students on this trip,” said Tanner Maasen, senior computer information science major. “This is a major testament to our College administrators’ commitment of developing students’ character while helping to ensure students do not incur debt during their time at the College.”
Sgt. Maj. USMC (Ret.) Eddie Neas joined the students on the trip. While at the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial, he gave the students an account of his time as a machine gunner with the First Marine Division during the Vietnam War.
This year’s CitizenTrip™ included stops at Arlington National Cemetery, Museum of the Bible, the White House, the United States Capitol, the National Archives Museum, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Students also visited the National Mall, which includes the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Constitution Gardens, Washington Monument, and World War II Memorial. During the New York City portion of the trip, students visited the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the 9/11 Memorial Pools.
“These students approach each memorial, monument, and museum with a sense of honor and deep gratitude that gives me pause,” said Paige Ray, associate professor of English. “It’s a posture that I can only describe as reverence — a reverence that acknowledges the complex human experiences captured in America’s historical legacies.”
Honoring the fallen
Students stood in awe of the more than 14,000 graves spread over 639 acres at Arlington National Cemetery. Brigadier General James P. Schreffler, who serves as academic chair of the Division of Business, Applied and Technical Sciences at C of O, illuminated stories of several who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
“This tour significantly increased my awareness of the sacrifice of those in our military,” said senior public relations major Hannah Otradovec. “Seeing the fresh graves of the servicemen and women who perished in Kabul moved me deeply. These men and women were around my age and gave the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom. Arlington ultimately brought me to tears and made me realize how short life can be, more so for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. But despite its brevity, the life of servicemen and women is full of passion and purpose. Therefore, to honor their sacrifices, we must live with the passion, purpose, and willingness to serve others.”
While at Arlington, Dr. Marci Linson, vice president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions, spoke to the students about Brigadier General Tommy Bell, graduate of The School of the Ozarks. Bell is one of the four generals whose life and legacy is described in the book, “The Four Generals of Hard Work U.,” by College President Jerry C. Davis.
“He [Tommy Bell] came from a humble background with limited means and had quite a tumultuous childhood. I hope he serves as an inspiration to you,” Linson said, as she pointed to the plaque bearing his name and marking his remains in the Arlington Niche Wall. Bell came from the hills of Oklahoma before embarking on a journey that not only included his time at The School of the Ozarks but a stunning military career in the skies over Vietnam and eventually the corridors of power in the Pentagon.
Trip extends to NYC
College administrators felt it was important to extend the CitizenTrip™ this year to include a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Pools in New York City.
“When I see each name etched into this memorial, built atop the grave of those lost in 9/11, I contemplate the importance of remembrance,” said junior Paige Steelman. “Col. Karen Hobson, a friend of the College, made this trip to New York City possible for the students. Her sister, Angela Kyte, died in the tragedy. Being able to see and touch the names of those lost is something I’ll never forget.”
More about CitizenTrip™ and The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education
The patriotic goal of College of the Ozarks is to encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibility, love of country, and willingness to defend it. The CitizenTrip™ is an integral part of fulfilling the patriotic goal. The CitizenTrip® is a capstone opportunity for students who have demonstrated an understanding of the patriotic goal through the patriotic education courses.
The trip was hosted by The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education at College of the Ozarks. The Center was dedicated on Constitution Day, Sept. 17.
“The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education is a hub for the College’s many patriotic offerings, including the CitizenTrip™,” Linson said. “The vision of The Knight Center is to revive historic American values and virtue in youth, and for students to experience our nation’s capital in-person is an excellent way to work toward that vision.”