The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg invites the public to join in honoring the service and sacrifices of US Military Veterans through three events planned for the campus’s Veterans Week set for Nov. 8 through Nov. 12.
Participants are asked to register where requested, and can register online, by telephone (724-836-7188), or by email (UPGVeterans@pitt.edu). Please include your name, a contact number, and the total number attending. COVID-19 protocols will be in place for all indoor in-person events on campus.
Wreath Ceremony -- Monday, Nov. 8 – 11:30 a.m. – Chambers Hall Flag Poles
Veterans Week will open with the annual Wreath Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 8, at 11:30 a.m. The ceremony will be held at the Pitt-Greensburg campus flag poles located in front of Chambers Hall. CSM (Ret.) Bart E. Womack is the keynote speaker for the ceremony, which will commemorate the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Registration is required.
Womack, now a resident of Pittsburgh, served in the US Army for more than 29 years as a Drill Sergeant, Ranger Instructor, Relief Commander, Sergeant of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and culminating in dual roles as Commandant and the 101st Airborne Division Command Sergeant Major. A Combat Iraq War Veteran, he was awarded two Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantryman Badge with star.
“This year we not only honor our military & veteran community; we join our country in a special centennial commemoration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, said Lisa Reffner, Data and Registrar specialist and the school certifying official for military and veterans benefits. “One hundred years ago, at the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, in the year 1921, the first Unknown Soldier from WWI was laid to rest at the tomb. Our speaker, CSM (Ret) Bart Womack, not only served the U.S. Army with distinction for over 29 years as a professional soldier; he served as both a Relief Commander and Sergeant of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”
In retirement, Womack continues to assist veterans to enhance their careers and excel in post-military life. He sits on the Board of Directors for Veterans Media Corporation and serves as an Executive Producer for The Veterans Channel. Womack is the co-founder, chair, and COO of the Armed Forces Equestrian Center (AFEC), a non-profit organization that provides equine therapy for veterans, military families, and people with disabilities. Womack also works in the entertainment industry as an actor and military-technical advisor. An author and screenplay writer, he wrote Embedded Enemy that documents the valuable lessons learned about situational awareness security to mitigate domestic terrorism.
Reflections of Service—A Discussion -- Tuesday, Nov. 9 – 7 p.m. – Mary Lou Campana Chapel and Lecture Center
Four panelists with a variety of experiences and perspectives will discuss “The First Casualty: Military Conflict, the Media, and Public Opinion from WWII to Present Day.” Shaun Hall, the host and producer of the Veterans Breakfast Club, will moderate the discussion that will feature Benjamin Abel, Elizabeth Becker, Todd DePastino, and Justin Merriman. Please register to attend this event.
Benjamin Abel was born into an Army family, served five years on active duty as a Psychological Operations Specialist following high school, and continued his service as an Army Public Affairs Officer for another 15 years. In 2015, he left public service and currently teaches composition at East Carolina University.
Elizabeth Becker is an award-winning journalist and author who began her career as a war correspondent of the Washington Post in Cambodia, became the Senior Foreign Editor of National Public Radio, and later a New York Times correspondent covering national security, foreign policy, agriculture, and international economics. Her book, When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution, is a six-year investigation of the historical and political roots of one of the 20th century's worst genocides and includes first-hand reporting from the war and revolution, as well as her interviews with Pol Pot and other senior leaders. Because of her expertise, Becker was called to testify for the prosecution at the international criminal tribunal of the Khmer Rouge for genocide.
Her other books include Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, America’s Vietnam War: A Narrative History, and Bophana: Love in the Time of the Khmer Rouge that is the basis of a documentary film by the Oscar-nominated director Rithy Panh.
Todd DePastino is founder and executive director of the Veterans Breakfast Club, which holds veterans’ storytelling programs that are open to the public. He has a PhD. in American History from Yale University is author of the award-winning Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front (W.W. Norton) and several other books.
Pitt-Greensburg alumnus Justin Merriman is an award-winning freelance photojournalist based in Pittsburgh and a founding member of American Reportage, a collective of documentary photojournalists specializing in comprehensive storytelling of the American experience. After covering the September 11, 2001 crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA, Merriman committed to chronicling the US Military's War on Terror. He followed this story across the United States and into the conflict zones of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He also has covered life in Fidel Castro’s Cuba in 2002, India’s efforts to eradicate polio from its population, the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba in 2012, the 2013 conclave and election of Pope Francis in Rome, the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution and subsequent unrest, and Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the international political crisis that unfolded in Ukraine in 2014. In 2015, he offered a look inside of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and its uncertain future, and most recently, traveled the entire U.S. border with Mexico documenting issues on immigration.
Annual Veterans Day Luncheon – Nov. 11 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Hempfield Room (Chambers Hall)
The Pitt-Greensburg Chapter of Phi Eta Sigma National Freshman Honor Society will host its annual Veterans Day Luncheon. Veterans and their family members are welcome to attend this event. Pre-registration for this event is not required, but face coverings are required indoors until seated to eat lunch.
Members of the Pitt-Greensburg campus community are invited to participate in all of the events listed above, as well as these additional activities:
Display of artifacts from War Correspondent Frank E. Bolden ’34 --Nov. 8 – Nov. 11 – Regular Business Hours – Millstein Library
Stop by Millstein Library and view the artifacts of Frank E. Bolden’s work as a war correspondent during WWII. Borrowed from the University Library System Archives, these items give a sense of the challenges faced by this 1934 Pitt alumnus. Artifacts include the actual copy that Bolden wrote and how the wartime censors changed it, photos from his time at Fort Huachuca (AZ), his Pittsburgh Courier press pass, and more.
The Masks We Live In: A Creative Arts Workshop -- Nov. 8 – 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Village Hall 118
Sarah Jo Wells, a graduate student in the Seton Hill University Art Therapy Program, will lead a workshop in exploring different aspects of ourselves through masks. This is an opportunity to express feelings, fears, strengths, resilience, as well as to become more aware of our masks and embrace all of who we are. Pizza, beverages, and snacks will be provided at this Village Event.
Film Night: Flags of Our Fathers -- Nov. 10 – 6:30 p.m. – Village Hall 118
Flags of Our Fathers depicts the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II and the famous flag-raising photo. Join in the discussion afterward as John Prellwitz, PhD, explores the controversy surrounding the photo and how this single photo taken by an AP photographer quickly became a powerful propaganda tool at home. Pizza, snacks, and beverages will be served.
Film Night: Born on the Fourth of July -- Nov. 11 – 5:30 p.m. – Powers Hall 100
The College Republicans invite you to the screening of Born of the Fourth of July, which depicts the struggles of real-life Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic who returns home as a paraplegic after being injured. Following the screening, Kerry Manning, PhD, will facilitate a discussion of the issues portrayed in the film. Pizza, snacks, and beverages will be served.
Try It Out: Experience what it’s like to walk a step or two in a veteran’s boots! -- Nov. 11 – 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. – Chambers Hall (outside Wagner Dining Hall)
Take this opportunity to try out the gear and meals that service members typically use and hear what your veteran peers have to share about their experiences. The SITREP Military/Veterans program invites the campus to enjoy a piece of cake in honor of the US Armed Services, too!
The Pitt-Greensburg RED Out: Remember Everyone Deployed -- Nov. 12 – All Day (Photo at noon at the Chambers Flag Poles)
Pitt-Greensburg’s Veterans Week closes with its annual RED Out event. RED stands for Remember Everyone Deployed and the wearing of red on this day is a visual show of support for all service members who are deployed across the globe in the service of the United States. Be sure to stop by the Chambers Flag Poles at noon for the photo and to grab a red, white, and blue sugar cookie (or two)! Contact Lisa Reffner (email@example.com) to purchase an official RED Out shirt with all proceeds going to the SITREP Veterans Services Program and Military/Veteran community projects.