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Veterans Day—Dec 2015 Commencement speaker: Medal of Honor alumnus

Veterans Day 2015

Dear University of Maryland community, 

In 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice silenced the guns in the "war to end all wars." 

Armistice Day has since become Veterans Day, when we recognize and thank those who have served our country. 

They, family, friends—and those who live in memory—know well the wages of answering the call: of duty and quiet courage; of sacrifice beyond understanding; of folded flags on empty chairs. 

Among the exemplars of selfless devotion is Captain Florent Groberg, UMD class of 2006, a naturalized citizen from Bethesda, MD. 

After graduating with a BA in criminology and criminal justice and running track as a student-athlete, he joined the Army and served in Afghanistan. On patrol one day, he threw himself on a suicide bomber. Though four comrades died, his heroism saved many more lives. He sustained severe wounds that required more than 30 surgeries over more than two years. 

Tomorrow, at the White House, President Obama will award him the nation's highest military decoration: The Medal of Honor. 

I am pleased to announce that Captain Groberg—a loyal and proud Terp—will be the winter commencement speaker on December 19, 2015. 

Today at 11A.M., I ask that we pause for a moment of silence to honor him and all who served, including our 1,000 student veterans and their dependents. I invite you to the 12:30pm remembrance ceremony at Memorial Chapel. 

Today and every day, we as a nation and as a University must do all we can to support their education and success. Then we fulfill the prophetic vision of turning swords into plowshares. 

When our veterans return home, our service begins. 

Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland