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Veterans' sacrifices honored

Nov. 11, 2005

by TASHA CLARK, reporter

Freedom comes at a price. During times of conflict, sometimes that price is a life.

Veterans will be remembered today -- Veterans Day -- for their service to the United States military and their protection of rights and values. For most, Veterans Day is a day to remember sacrifices people have made to protect America.

"Veterans Day is a day that allows me to honor my fellow soldiers, sailors, airman and marines who have served and some of whom have given the ultimate price. And it's a reminder that freedom isn't free," said William Baker, lecturer and division director of Asian and African languages. "Freedom often comes at a very heavy cost."

Baker entered the military as a commissioned officer after graduating from Baylor Air Force ROTC. During his military career, Baker served from the end of the Vietnam War until his retirement in 2000.

Some of the assignments Baker held include a position at the Air Force Academy, senior Middle East intelligence analyst at the Pentagon and assignments with the United States Defense Attache Office. During his service, Baker had to face many dangerous situations in the field.

"I'll never forget the day that Saddam Hussein tried to kill me with Scud missiles. He had fired numerous Scud missiles at the location I was in, and fortunately he missed every time," Baker said.

Baker retired from the Air Force branch of the military as a Lieutenant Colonel. Baker said he "stands up and salutes" those who followed the path to service in the military.

For students who are still members of the military, Veterans Day is a reminder for their reason to serve.

"It's taking time to remember all our veterans who have gone, served and provided for us, and protected the freedoms that we have," Bay City senior Jeff Johnson said. "We internalize that, and we remember and we become more aware of the freedoms that we have. And I become more grateful for that freedom."

Johnson, who is a cadet major in the ROTC program at Baylor, has participated in Veterans Day activities, including singing in a quartet.

Pilot Point junior Amy Marie Davis enlisted in the Army Reserve to fulfill a family tradition.

"I was dragged all the way around the world all through my life. Basically, I was taught old core values that the military is a way of life. It's a structure. It's the American dream value," Davis said.

Davis, a private first class at Fort Sam Houston, had many family members serve in the military, including her father, brother, aunts and uncle. Davis said Veterans Day holds more meaning for her family because of their military lifestyle.

"It's a little more personal to us, but for those that didn't grow up in a military family, it's a time for them to think about what they did for us," Davis said.

In honor of Veterans Day, many organizations will sponsor ceremonies and visit veterans to remember their sacrifices.

Today the Texas State Cemetery Committee and the Baylor Alumni Association will dedicate a monument and memorial marker to Medal of Honor recipient Jack Lummus at the Texas State Cemetery.

Baylor ROTC will also celebrate Veterans Day with a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. at Founders Mall.

"I'm humbled and it's an honor to see them taking time out of their schedules to remember those who have gone before us," Baker said.