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Stanford thanks veterans for their service

Every year on Veterans Day, the Stanford community pays tribute to those who answer the call to serve and protect the nation.

This Veterans Day, and throughout the week, Stanford is paying tribute to the men and women who serve in the nation’s armed forces.

A wreath in Memorial Court. (Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

Today, wreaths will be placed outside of Memorial Auditorium and Memorial Court as a symbol of respect and gratitude for our veterans. The annual tradition includes a letter from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne thanking them for answering the call to protect the country and our freedoms.

“I’m deeply proud of Stanford’s veterans, and of the spirit of leadership and dedication that they bring to our campus community,” he wrote in this year’s message, adding that they are an important example of courage, selflessness, and active citizenship.

“Today, I join the Stanford community in offering my own deep thanks to all of our veterans for the peace and liberty we enjoy in this country,” he wrote.

Memorial Court was established in 1900 to honor the Stanford volunteers in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Memorial Hall, which houses Memorial Auditorium, was built in 1937 to honor the 77 Stanford affiliates who died in World War I. The names of those killed in subsequent wars, including World War II and the Korean War, were later added to the lobby.

Today, Stanford’s student community includes 101 military veterans, 50 dependents of veterans, and six students enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC, program.

The Stanford community paid tribute to our nation’s heroes throughout the week. On Saturday, the Stanford Cardinal faced off against the Washington State University Cougars in the Community Heroes Football Game, during which student Tina Wong, ’23, and alumnus William von Kaenel, ’80, were honored for their service.

William von Kaenel and Tina Wong at the Community Heroes Football Game. (Image credit: Courtesy Stanford Athletics)

Wong enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school and served as a medic with the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division in Fort Polk, Louisiana. From 2015 to 2016, she deployed to eastern Afghanistan for nine months for Operation Resolute Support. After four years of service, Wong enrolled at the College of San Mateo before transferring to Stanford. She is studying economics.

Von Kaenel graduated from Stanford in 1980. He served in the U.S. Air Force as an anesthesiologist and was deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. He is a long-time member of the Buck/Cardinal Club, which supports student-athletes. He is currently commander of American Legion Palo Alto Post 375.

On Monday, Stanford, the City of Palo Alto, and the Palo Alto American Legion Post 375 held a joint Veterans Day celebration at the Veterans Memorial Building on University Avenue. The keynote address was delivered by Admiral James Ellis, the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, who served for 39 years in the U.S. Navy. In his remarks, he reflected on the ways our veterans inspire the rest of the nation.

“Your service reminds the rest of us that all of us can serve wherever we find ourselves, in ways large and small, in or out of uniform,” Ellis said.

The event, which was emceed by Wong, also featured a musical performance by members of the Palo Alto High School chorus, historic actors, and military vehicles provided by the Eagle Field Foundation, as well as a reception.

This Friday, Stanford’s Office of Military Affiliated Communities, OMAC, will host a Veterans Day reception at the Stanford Faculty Club to commemorate the service of Stanford community members. The event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. and is open to Stanford students, fellows, alumni, faculty, and staff with military affiliations, including those who previously, currently, or will be serving in the military of any nation.