The bonds of military comradeship across generations were on full display as Alaska Pacific University observed Veterans’ Day on November 14th with a luncheon in the Atwood Dining Hall. A good-sized crowd that included veteran students, veteran alumni, friends and family mingled with faculty and staff in this sixth annual event.
As President Bantz noted in his opening remarks, APU currently enrolls thirty-three veterans and is actively working to improve services for them through programs, financial and academic counseling, and peer support.
Dr. Bantz also honored the originator of this event, alumnus Harry Kachline (BA, 1993; MAP 2002). Mr. Kachline served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era and has been a steady presence on the APU campus for years. President Bantz read a commendation from U.S. Representative, Don Young, and then formally declared that henceforth the annual Veterans’ Day event will be known as “The Harry Kachline Veterans’ Day Luncheon.”
“During the summer, Harry tends to APU’s flower gardens,” he said. “During the winters he tends to our souls.”
The crowd also heard a pre-recorded message from APU student Josh Revak. Revak, a six-year Army veteran pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, came to Alaska after leaving active service to serve as Representative Young’s Liaison for Military and Civilian Affairs. Revak, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as an armored crewman on an M1 Abrams battle tank, was twice the recipient of the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in combat. He spoke of how playing the guitar he smuggled in with his gear and writing songs for fallen friends helped him, and many others, eventually, to cope with the profound loss they felt over the death of their friends and comrades. Click here for a video of Josh’s story.
The event closed with an open mic opportunity, where current enlistees and veterans and veterans from as far back as WWII addressed the crowd. With a closing moment of silence in remembrance, we reflected on our good fortune to have these men and women as part of our community.