DeSales Honors Veterans and Celebrates Service
A reverential hush fell over the Commonwealth room as buglers from the Fleet Reserve Association, Branch 115, Lehigh Valley, played taps. The DeSales community once again gathered on Veterans Day to honor all those who have served or are serving in the U.S. armed forces, as well as their loved ones.
“DeSales has become a home for our veteran friends outside of here and, of course, all our veteran students,” noted Linda Zerbe, vice president for student life. “We are in the middle of our strategic plan and our president, Father Greenfield, has committed to making veterans and military services one of our pillars for student experience.”
For Col. Nathan Hunsinger ’92, this Veterans Day was especially significant. After graduating from DeSales (then Allentown College) as the first Steel Battalion ROTC student, he flourished in his career serving in the Army. After 30 years in uniform, he recently retired and returned to his alma mater to reflect on the importance of service.
“Everyone who has ever worn the uniform in defense of this country knows how special our country truly is and how quickly the freedoms we enjoy can be lost in an instant. Defending freedom abroad and appreciating what we have requires vigilance and attention that only those who have worn the uniform can know or understand.”
Maureen Hickman Caporaso, veteran and military liaison for Congresswoman Susan Wild’s office, also spoke. Hickman Caporaso is a Gold Star Family Fellow. Her father, U.S. Air Force Navigator Vincent J. Hickman, has been missing in action since January 1964, when his plane was shot down during a combat support mission in Vietnam.
“Those who know me are aware of the myriad of interesting issues I’ve tackled, and I love being able to help all veterans whatever their question or concern,” said Hickman Caporaso. “Our military veterans and their families deserve to be taken care of when the service member returns home. It should not be a difficult task to acclimate to civilian life after putting their lives on the line for our country. They deserve our gratitude, our respect, and our assistance.”
Other highlights from the ceremony included a performance of the national anthem and Salute to America’s Finest by the Southern Lehigh High School band and DeSales chorale, an explanation of the Missing Man table by Justus Altmiller ’23, an Army veteran, and the acknowledgment of soon-to-be veteran graduates and scholarship recipients.
Additionally, veterans from the Fleet Reserve Association presented Gold Star Mother Ruth Harton (above, right), of Bethlehem, with a flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol. Harton’s son, Army Corporal Joshua Harton, was killed in action on Sept. 18, 2010, while serving in Afghanistan.