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Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light …
By the dawn’s early light, on a near-freezing morning in November, seven military veterans, most of them CIU students, filed out of the Columbia International University administration building and with resolution in their step, gathered at the CIU flagpole. It was the start of a new day of education from a biblical worldview at CIU, but not without these veterans first ceremoniously raising the flags of the United States of America and the state of South Carolina.
The new CIU ceremony was initiated by CIU staff member Gary Hartman who served in the U.S. Army as a musician. As the flag was raised and the other veterans saluted, Hartman played the National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner” on the trumpet.
The raising of the flag used to be a daily duty of an employee of CIU’s Physical Plant, but Hartman, who works in CIU’s IT department, thought that more honor was due the flags and the nation and state they represent. So he began contacting CIU students who served in the military and asking for volunteers for the ceremony.
“Veterans have a passion to be involved in CIU and are looking for a way to give back to CIU in at least some small capacity,” Hartman said.
Hartman was further encouraged by CIU’s new and growing Chaplaincy program led by former Navy Chaplain Dr. Mike Langston, so he said adding the ceremony “only made sense.”
Hartman says there are 75 military veterans enrolled at CIU and he has formed an email group with many of them.
Hartman served in the Army from 1976 to 1996, playing the trumpet in Army bands across the nation and at international locations, finishing his military career with the 282nd Army Victory Band at Fort Jackson in Columbia.
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! – The Fourth Stanza of the “Star Spangled Banner”