« Return to Campus News Hub View All Press Releases »


March 28, 2024

%TABLET% Tablet
%DESKTOP% Desktop
Woman speaking in front of war memorial Thanh Duong Boyer, Vietnam native and author of The Ground Kisser, gave remarks to honor those who served in the Vietnam War.

POINT LOOKOUT, MO — College of the Ozarks held a special service honoring Vietnam Veterans at Patriots Park on Thursday, March 28, at 9 a.m. The ceremony was well attended by Veterans, locals from the surrounding community, and students of College of the Ozarks.

College of the Ozarks president, Dr. Brad Johnson, gave opening remarks at the ceremony.

“Today we specifically commemorate the service of men and women who placed themselves in harm's way to defend freedom, both here and in the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam,” said Johnson. “We owe a debt of gratitude to these men and women who served for their sacrifice and their service. Many upon their return home experienced ridicule and disdain for having faithfully fulfilled the duty asked of them by their country. So today, we want to say thank you to each of you who served. You are seen and you are celebrated for your courage, for your valor, and for your sacrifice.”

Thanh Duong Boyer, Vietnam native and author of The Ground Kisser, gave remarks to all in attendance, especially to those who served in the Vietnam War.

“Vietnam Veterans, never believe the lie that the Vietnam War didn't matter, and that your service was in vain,” said Boyer. “I am living proof that what you did in Vietnam made a difference. Your bravery, sacrifice, and courage helped countless Vietnamese people like myself to experience freedom and the blessings that come with it. There are millions of Vietnamese individuals who now live in freedom, and we are eternally grateful to you for your sacrifices. To my heroes, the bravest generation, Vietnam Veterans, welcome home.”

Retired United States Army Captain and Vietnam Veteran John Sorensen attended the ceremony and expressed his thankfulness for College of the Ozarks.

“It’s beyond meaningful to have a place like College of the Ozarks where Veterans like myself are truly appreciated and respected and can gather to remember those who lost their lives in Vietnam,” said Sorenson. “College of the Ozarks’ approach to teaching patriotism to their students is something that is so encouraging to see as a Veteran. What’s even more powerful to see is the true appreciation that these students show for the sacrifices made by men and women who have served our country.”

The service concluded with a ceremonial laying of the wreath by President Brad Johnson, Thanh Duong Boyer, and John Sorensen, and a playing of taps by Sgt. Maj. Robert Smither (Ret.).

“I am so grateful for the service of these men and women,” said Lillian Chisum, freshman English major who attended the ceremony. “They have enabled me to live my life the way I live it now: in freedom and comfort.”

The purpose of the Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial is to honor the fallen and properly thank Vietnam War Veterans for their sacrifice and bravery. The memorial stands near the College’s entrance and bears the names of the 1,410 Missourians who served and died in the Vietnam War.

The Missouri legislators made this memorial at College of the Ozarks the official Vietnam War Memorial for the state of Missouri with Missouri Senate Concurrent Resolution 43, which was sponsored by Senator David Sater from Missouri District 29. The resolution was adopted in May 2014.

The memorial is another way to further the College’s vision – which is to develop citizens of Christlike character who are well-educated, hardworking, and patriotic.