By Curt Yeomans
Veterans Day holds a special meaning to David Furman, a Clayton State University assistant professor of marketing, and advisor to the university's newly formed U.S. Armed Services Student Association.
Furman's father was part of the occupation forces in Okinawa, Japan in the closing days of World War II. Then, Furman himself was a member of the Missouri Army National Guard, and the Army Reserves from 1969 to 1975. As the advisor for the armed services group at Clayton State, Furman works with other veterans on a regular basis.
"I learned a very deep respect for people who are professional soldiers in the military," said Furman. "We wouldn't have a democracy, if it weren't for people like that."
Furman will deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Armed Services Student Association's first annual Veterans Day Celebration, which will begin today at 11:30 a.m., at Clayton State's Judge Eugene Lawson Amphitheater. The amphitheater is on a peninsula overlooking Swan Lake, next to the university's Spivey Hall, and in front of the James M. Baker University Center.
"We owe them a lot," said Furman. "The war may be unpopular, but we've got to continue supporting the soldiers who put their lives on the line for our country."
The U.S. Armed Services Student Association was established this year to give students -- who are military veterans or active service men or women -- a group to join and connect with other veterans and service members.
Furman said the group currently has 12 members, and he lets them run the organization however they see fit. The advisor said there are an estimated 400 veterans attending Clayton State.
"I tell them if something may be inappropriate, but with this group, that really isn't necessary," Furman said.
The group is hoping to reach out to more veterans who attend the school, and encourage them to join the organization. After today's ceremony, there will be a meet and greet for the group and other veterans in Room 322 of the Baker Center.
Veterans who attend Clayton State are encouraged to contact Furman at (678) 466-4550, or by e-mail at DavidFurman@clayton.edu.