Bob Rechholtz, chairperson of the communications committee at the Cedars of Chapel Hill and a U.S. Army veteran, organized the event.
“We have a lot of veterans here to begin with,” Rechholtz said. “We want to maintain an awareness of what our military does for us.”
After an ROTC cadet sang the national anthem, the director of programming, Tara Pierce, did a roll call of all veterans who are or have been residents of The Cedars.
The Cedars houses more than 70 veterans, including two general officers.
There are 22 million living veterans in the U.S., 10 million of whom are over the age of 65.
“This suggests that we will be a declining breed in the coming years,” Rechholtz said.
Air Force Capt. Joshua Monroe, who is pursuing a master’s degree in health care administration at UNC, spoke at the program about current issues and complexities the military faces today in the Middle East.
“A common phrase myself and my peers have come to hate is ‘do more with less,’” Monroe said. “To us, that just means more hours, more deployments, more potential time in harm’s way. We are facing an extremely dynamic situation in our current conflicts that we have to train and prepare for, and we are doing it with less people at the moment.”
Monroe described the recent deaths of two friends in Afghanistan from his first year at the Air Force Academy and what he learned about the military as a result.
Donald and Frances Alguire, residents at The Cedars, both served in the military.
Frances Alguire trained as a cadet nurse in Lansing, Mich., and eventually became a medical surgical nurse supervisor.
She cared for troops that had been sent back to the U.S. during World War II.
She had the opportunity to work in a hospital in Hawaii but ended up staying in Michigan, where she married Donald Alguire.
“It’s amazing how many WWII survivors live (at The Cedars),” Frances Alguire said.
Donald Alguire served in the Air Force from 1945 to 1947.
He said, surprisingly, he never got in an airplane during his time in the Air Force.
“I had a high school education and ended up in charge of one fourth of the Air Force secret code school,” said Donald Alguire, who taught cryptography.
The program concluded with singing God Bless America, led by a veteran in residence at The Cedars.
“I kept thinking of people I knew in life, and I kept drawing back to (veterans),” said Monroe. “So thank you — it is the foundation you have laid that caused me to put on this uniform and take this route in life.”