On a sunny, calm morning last Saturday in Washington, D.C., dozens of Duke alumni, family and friends gathered in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to fallen soldiers and lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
The DukeDC event, “A Morning to Honor and Remember Our Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery,” was co-sponsored by Duke Divinity School and the Duke Military Alumni Network. The program included remarks from Duke Divinity School Associate Dean Dan Struble and Army Chaplain Mel Baars O’Malley AB’05, M.Div.’08, ahead of Memorial Day.
Struble discussed the Divinity School’s role in preparing military and other chaplains, the Divinity School’s efforts to equip leaders who fill the gaps in our polarized society, and the importance of the Duke Military Alumni Network – a community that provides a connection to Duke alumni affiliated with the military. and their families with peers around the world to offer support and resources.
O’Malley shared his journey from Duke to U.S. Army chaplaincy. In her freshman year, she recounted a pivotal moment in her life and career: walking to the market for breakfast on Duke’s East campus on September 11, 2001. Since that fateful day, O’Malley described his deep ties to the military and the chaplaincy as resulting from both a series of deliberate, but fortuitous events.
In honoring Arlington veterans, we “remember those who served, honoring the spirit that moved them to say yes to the call, even if it means sacrificing everything,” O’Malley said. In her speech, she also emphasized the themes of friendship and the honorable willingness of those in service to “lay down their lives for a friend.”
“I encourage you to remember this: No place in Arlington National Cemetery can be bought, each must be earned…the bond that binds us all,” said O’Malley, a U.S. Army major and former Army Chaplain at Arlington National Cemetery. .
After the discussion, the group observed representatives of the regional DukeDC alumni community – Col. Matthew Hepburn (retired) ESB’92, MD’96, P’23; Quauhtli Olivieri Herrera MPP’17; Amy Kramer AB’18; and Colonel Kecia M. Troy AB’98 – participate in a public wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The event was organized and led by Anne Berry Schell AB’06, DukeDC Regional Council Co-Chair and Camille Glover M.Div.’13, DukeDC Regional Council Divinity School Representative.