GW VALOR Lays Wreath on Veterans Day

November 15, 2016

On a cool, sunny Friday morning, November 11th, the GW VALOR community gathered at the Veterans Memorial Wall in Kogan Plaza to honor all who served our country. Over seventy-five people attended the annual Veterans Day Wreath Laying Ceremony. As the American flag shimmered from a light breeze, the VALOR family remembered their loved ones who served, past and present, in defense of our country and its values. After the GW Troubadours sang the national anthem, a moment of silence fell over the crowd, and several wiped away tears. GW President Steven Knapp welcomed them on that beautiful morning, and began the heartfelt ceremony.

Through a Presidential Initiative, President Knapp founded GW VALOR in 2013, creating an organization dedicated to servicing and supporting students with military backgrounds. Over three years later, President Knapp spoke at Friday’s wreath laying ceremony, reflecting on the success of VALOR. In addition to President Knapp, GW VALOR was honored to have Tillman Scholar Adam Popp and Coast Guard CAPT Luann Barndt provide remarks.

Introduced by GW Vets President Yannick Baptiste, a fellow EOD technician, Adam Popp is a US Air Force veteran pursuing his master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at GW. Adam suffered a critical injury from an IED attack while serving as an EOD technician, and spent eighteen months recovering at Walter Reed. Since then, he has dedicated himself to continuing his service to the nation, service members, and fellow veterans. Adam was awarded the Pat Tillman Scholarship for showing “strength in character, academic excellence, and incredible potential.”

CAPT Luann Barndt is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, founder and CEO of Axiom Quest LLC, and current doctoral student in the GW Executive Leadership Program in Human and Organizational Learning. A veteran herself, she is also married to a veteran, and the mother of two current military service members. CAPT Barndt discussed this year’s 40th anniversary of Women in Military Service Academies, as well as the opening of all combat roles to women. She personally thanked President Knapp for GW’s support of military service members and their families, proven by GW’s public recognition and commitment to the Military and Veterans Initiative and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

The GW Troubadours sang the national anthem, and the GW NROTC Color Guard presented the colors. CAPT Barndt, Adam Popp, GW Vets President Yannick Baptiste, and Student Association Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno laid the wreath.

GW VALOR would like to thank all that attended and participated in the ceremony, the introductory and keynote speakers, the Troubadours, and the GW NROTC Color Guard. Most importantly, GW would like to thank all military service members, active and reserve, veterans, and dependents. We pledge to continue our services and support to the tremendous VALOR community.