Boston College will commemorate Veterans Day with the 22nd annual Veterans Remembrance Ceremony on November 11 at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial on the Burns Library Lawn, where retired Colonel April D. Skou ’96 will deliver the keynote remarks.
During her tenure in the United States Army, Skou served as a member of the Joint Staff within the Directorate for Intelligence, an Army War College Fellow commanding the Army’s only aerial intelligence brigade, and commander of the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion, among other roles. She was recognized as an Army Master Aviator with combat aviation tours to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as three tours to Korea where she flew imminent-danger missions.
The ceremony—at which ROTC and NROTC cadets will read the names of all those from BC who have died in combat—will be preceded by the annual Veterans Mass at 9:30 a.m. in St. Mary’s Chapel. The day’s events will conclude with a luncheon in Gasson 100 at noon.
During the ceremony, a special tribute will be paid to Sergeant First Class Gerald F. Scott, whose name will be the latest name added to the Veterans Memorial, which lists all BC alumni who have died in the line of duty. Scott was drafted into the Korean War in 1950, two days before he was to start his second year at BC. The Wakefield, Mass., native served as a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was taken as a prisoner of war while fighting in South Korea on February 12, 1951, and died during a six-week march from Bean Camp to Camp 1 on May 13. His remains have not been recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.
“As a child, I remember the presence of Gerald being there and the sadness around it, the ripples his death sent out for so many years,” said his niece, Leslie Scott-Lysan, of Wakefield, who plans to attend the ceremony with her father, James, who is 90.
Scott-Lysan said her uncle had discussed one day becoming a priest. The Korean War was not his first military experience. He had been stationed in Germany in the aftermath of World War II. Scott-Lysan said her uncle would likely have been shielded from the draft had the academic term already started.
She said she is glad to see Scott’s name added next to the names of fellow BC alumni and those like her uncle, who died serving his country before he could finish his studies.
“I have comfort in at least knowing that there is another reminder,” said Scott-Lysan. “He was a kid, 22 years old. I can’t imagine going through that.”
“The Veterans Day events at BC are a way to bring all military-connected members of the community together at one time,” said BC Assistant Director for Veteran Programs and Services Michael Lorenz. “No matter the branch, when you served, if you have a military family member, or if you are just someone paying respects, it's so meaningful to come together and offer support to each other on this day.”
The day after Veterans Day, Lorenz and a BC contingent will run the Boston DAV 5K. Lorenz is also setting up Tables of Honor—empty place settings in each of the major dining halls—to remember fallen veterans and their families. He will also send a note of thanks and a challenge coin to BC military families upon request.
A display case in Carney Hall will feature some of the medals awarded to the late Thomas Kennedy '56, a veteran of the Vietnam War whose family offered the decorations to the University.
“We are trying to do two things: We are trying to raise visibility on campus so people remember and recognize that there are veterans who are part of the community,” said Lorenz. “The second focus is to make veterans feel seen and appreciated.”
There are 146 student veterans enrolled at BC this semester, and an additional 84 veterans among BC faculty and staff. The Nov. 4 BC Football game against Duke in Alumni Stadium was Military Appeciation Night.
Following a pandemic pause, this semester marks the return of the Collegiate Warrior Athlete Initiative, which pairs veterans with athletic trainers to focus on fitness and wellness.
Lorenz noted that the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides financial aid to cover the difference between the GI Bill education benefit and BC tuition, has been expanded to the School of Social Work. An estimated 90 student veterans have been able to use the Yellow Ribbon program, Lorenz said.
The Veterans Day events are sponsored by the Boston College Alumni Association, Boston College Veterans Alumni Network, Boston College Veteran Programs & Services, and the BC Army ROTC Program.
Visit the Alumni website to register to attend the annual Veterans Mass and Remembrance Ceremony.
Christine Balquist and Ed Hayward | University Communications | November 2022