Local colleges plan programs on Veterans Day

ALBANY, Ga. -- Every day, military personnel stationed at installations throughout the world put their lives in harm's way to protect freedoms enjoyed by Americans.

For their sacrifice, both Albany State University and Darton State College have planned programs to honor servicemen and women.

Albany State's annual Veterans Day observance at 11 a.m. Monday between the L. Orene Hall Building and Sanford Gymnasium will feature an address by Lt. Commander Christopher Williams of the U.S. Navy.

In January 2004, Williams was designated a naval aviator. He earned the distinction of being the No. 1 pilot in the Strike Fighter Squadron 136 (also known as VFA-136, or the "Knighthawks") and the No. 5 pilot in the entire air wing onboard the USS Enterprise. The designation was based on strict Naval air grading criteria during a deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Afghan and Iraqi operations.

A native of Savannah, Williams graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2001 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

In case of inclement weather, the observance will be held in the L. Orene Hall Building.

Darton State's Office of Military and Adult Education will host a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday at 2 p.m. in Room 101 of Building B.

The ceremony, titled "Darton Salutes: A Tribute to Our Veterans," will include a keynote address and a reading of the names of those fallen from Georgia during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Valerie McCarley, director of Military and Adult Education at Darton, said, "We want to honor and thank our veterans for their service. Through this ceremony, we hope to express our sincere gratitude to those who have served and to acknowledge their sacrifices."

Darton will also include the National Roll Call in its Veterans Day ceremony. The National Roll Call honors American servicemen and women by hosting simultaneous ceremonies across the nation. Campus and community volunteers at 93 colleges and universities in 37 states across the nation will read the names of the fallen.