Honoring all service

Veterans Day assembly remembers the sacrifice of all veterans

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Honoring all service

Keaton Dixson

Keaton Dixson

Keaton Dixson

Julia Battishill, News Editor

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Standing under the flagpole in Tiffany Loop, veteran and first year seminary student Stacy James told the gathered audience about her 32 years of service with the United States Air Force.

James was the first woman to ever serve as the senior intel officer to the U.S. defense representative, which she did at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. There, she experienced worship with Christians of different nationalities and circumstances, which ultimately led her to Seattle Pacific University.

At noon on Nov. 12, SPU students and faculty gathered in Tiffany Loop to commemorate Veterans Day, 100 years after the first celebration of the holiday (which was known at its conception as Armistice Day).

Keaton Dixson

The ceremony included speeches from several veterans who now attend or work at SPU, each expressing gratitude for the U.S. Armed Forces and all veterans.

James also told the story of SPU alumnus veteran, a man named Jacob Daniel DeShazer, who served in the 1940s. DeShazer was taken as a prisoner of war when his plane crash landed in Japanese-occupied Pearl Harbor, where he remained for three years.

During that time, DeShazer studied the Bible, and upon his return, he attended what was then Seattle Pacific College. He, his wife and their five children then moved to Japan, where they planted 25 churches and served as missionaries.

Reflecting on DeShazer’s impact, James remarked, “I think of the legacy each one of us leaves behind.”

SPU professor of history and vetran Dr. Rod Stiling spoke for the majority of the ceremony. He expressed gratitude for those who served in the military, past and present. According to Stiling, observing Veterans Day is about acknowledging that service.

“We want to salute and acknowledge anyone, all who have served, whether briefly or for a length of time, whether for a whole career or serving two years in response to a draft notice, whether your serve was welcome in your life or whether it was a great burden,” Stiling said.

“Those on the front line and those in the warehouse, those driving trucks, those fueling airplanes, those who are loading the ships, as well as those who are firing ammunitions and flying aircraft.”

Current student Amir Arrahim, who served in the 1960s during the Vietnam War, also shared.

Keaton Dixson
A student veteran speaks on his earlier stages of life where the draft sent him to war.

Arrahim was drafted only a month after registering for the draft, and was immediately deployed to a combat zone in Vietnam.

“It was an experience that I never could imagine that could possibly happen that quickly,” he said.

He gave words of support, encouragement and gratitude for his fellow Veterans, especially those who had seen combat as he had.

“I want to thank all of the other veterans who were deployed into a combat zone because I personally can fully understand some of the things that they probably had gone through, some of the challenges that they would face,” Arrahim said. “Thank you.”

“Our service isn’t finished,” Stiling said, in his closing remarks. “I say to my fellow veterans: we’re not done yet. Our work is not finished.”

Stiling, alongside Arrahim, James and Amber Yates, a seminary student and Navy veteran, emphasized the importance of the service that military members provide for the United States, and that the freedoms afforded to the nation because of it should not be taken for granted.

“Those of us who follow Christ and treasure and value the freedoms that we have here; let us not take those for granted, and let us not waste them,” Stiling said.

“If we want to thank a veteran, let us lead righteous lives, and make our lives count for the benefit of others, for the freedom of others, for the encouragement of others.”

Keaton Dixson
Rod Stiling addresses the importance of remembering our veterans and also celebrates how Alexander Hall commemorates the service of veterans, students, faculty, and alumni.