Editor in Chief
LCC commemorated its fourth annual Veterans Day ceremony by inducting three local veterans into the Veterans Memorial Nov. 11.
The lower level of the Health and Human Services Building was packed with family members, friends, school representatives and camera crews as the ceremony unfolded. The inductees included WWII veterans Billy Arnold of Lansing, Joseph R. Beyrle of Muskegon and Harry Bell of Charlotte. Bell is the only one of the three men still alive.
Arnold served as a ship serviceman Third Class with the U.S. Navy. Beyrle served as a sergeant with the U.S. Army. Bell served as a staff sergeant with the U.S. Army Air Forces.
After LCC Trustee Larry Meyer led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, LCC alumni Marshon McFadden sang God Bless America to raucous applause.
“I’m touched right now to see this many people here today,” said Lt. Col. James Bender, LCC Director of Veterans and Military Affairs. “The diversity in this room means so much to me.”
A video welcome from Michigan Senator Carl Levin was played during the ceremony, during which he praised LCC’s contributions to veterans.
“The Veterans Memorial at LCC is an appropriate and lasting sign of our appreciation for generations of Michigan veterans,” Levin said. “LCC has an admirable record, not just of honoring their veterans, but helping them achieve their dreams after their military service.”
Levin also highlighted the college’s groundbreaking military medic to paramedic program.
Bell, 95, was present to receive an award from Bender. Family members of Beyrle and Arnold were present to receive their mementos.
According to LCC President Brent Knight, this year’s attendance at the college’s Veterans Day was the largest he has ever seen.
“Our inductees model courage, self-sacrifice, honor and duty,” Knight said. “We gather here, mindful that there are scores of men and women today who continue to defend democracy and maintain the peace around the world. They, too, deserve our tribute and their families deserve our support.”
Knight added LCC has the largest enrollment of veteran students in community colleges in Michigan.
“Veterans are often among our best students,” Knight said. “They bring leadership skills, global perspective and a clarity of purpose to their college work … We have a responsibility to ensure that yesterday’s warriors become today’s scholars and tomorrow’s leaders.”