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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 4, 2010) – Framed by the “Wall That Heals” exhibit, Walt Hicklin, president of the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors, reminded hundreds of people to not forget the sacrifices of the men and women who fight for freedom. His remarks were made during a reflection ceremony last weekend in Blue Springs.
Walt Hicklin, president of the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors, presents guest remarks at a reflection ceremony, “Honoring the Fallen; Healing the Living,” Oct. 2 near the traveling “Wall That Heals” exhibit in Blue Springs. Joining him on stage for the event are emcee Pete Grigsby, center, and Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross.
“The wall is a tremendous symbol that needs to be circulated throughout all of the United States to remind Americans of the importance of supporting our armed services,” he said.
Hicklin joined individuals such as U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton to address the gathering Saturday afternoon at Pink Hill Park, where the exhibit was viewed by thousands of people Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. The wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that was dedicated in Washington, D.C., in 1982. The memorial lists the names of 58,267 service men and women who were wounded in Vietnam between 1957 and 1975 and eventually died of their injuries. The wall was exhibited along with an information center and a variety of educational exhibits that help inform the public about the Vietnam War and its effect on the nation.
UCM was well represented at the event. In addition to Hicklin’s remarks Saturday afternoon, members of the university’s Army ROTC battalion posted colors during an awakening ceremony that morning.
During his speech, Hicklin harkened back to a time in U.S. history when military personnel did not receive a warm welcome upon their return home from fighting. He stressed it is the nation’s duty to correct such injustice by supporting the troops.
“Our returning military from the Vietnam War did not experience the same positive reception that their counterparts had received from previous conflicts. Some of the American public did not understand that the proper way to show disagreement of the policies of the political establishment was at the ballot box, and certainly not with our returning troops who sacrificed so much in their efforts to assist another nation in achieving freedom as we know it,” Hicklin told the gathering.
“Our sons and daughters who fought in Vietnam were courageous in their efforts to protect our freedom while trying to secure freedom for others,’ he said. “They have now paid the ultimate price while many others have come home with battle scars that required years of physical and psychological treatment. It is our duty as a nation to make sure we provide the needed services to assist them in their recovery. We must be vigilant in securing the needed services for all of our military to ensure they have the opportunity for a good a productive life.”
Hicklin, who was named Board of Governors president in 2010, retired in 2006 as vice president emeritus of student affairs at UCM after having served the university for 31 years. During his career, he was active in American Legion Boys State of Missouri, and helped work with Congressman Skelton and officials at the United States Military Academy to enable two UCM students to annually attend the Conference on Ethics in America at West Point.