As part of Duke’s annual tradition, students, employees and visitors will gather together Nov. 11 to commemorate Veterans Day.
Beginning at 11 a.m. on the steps outside Duke Chapel, the event will feature representatives from Duke's ROTC units, including the Army, Air Force and Navy. Along with Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration, those gathered will hear from retired Brig. Gen. Stephen R. Smith, chief human resources officer for Duke Medicine and an Army veteran.
Smith, who has worked at Duke for 18 years, is one of about 800 employees at Duke identified as a veteran.
“I’m grateful when somebody thanks me for my service, but being in the military today is also a lot of sacrifice on the part of families or loved ones who endure separation and concern,” said Smith, who served 27 years in the Army. “I think it’s important for people to understand service, sacrifice and the high quality of individuals that serve.”
Smith entered the Army in 1971 as an ROTC graduate at the University of Nebraska. He graduated from the National War College and holds degrees from Colorado State University.
His last active duty assignments included acting as commander of the 18th Personnel Group for the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg; director of personnel for Joint Task Force Operation Restore Democracy in Haiti; the 58th adjutant general of the Army; director of enlisted management; and deputy commanding general of the United States Army Recruiting Command.
“We appreciate the chance each year to recognize the efforts of men and women who have allowed us to enjoy so many freedoms,” Cavanaugh said. “Their voices are an important part of our community and we look forward to this annual event to honor them.”
Immediately after the program concludes, the Duke Alumni Association will lead a wreath laying ceremony beside Duke Chapel, next to Duke Divinity School.