This past Thursday (Nov 11, 2010) the HBS Armed Forces Alumni Association (AFAA), a student club, held its annual Veterans Day celebration on campus. We had about 400 students, family, faculty, and friends show up for the event, which highlighted two outstanding keynote speakers: David Gergen and Senator Scott Brown.
Veterans mostly wore their dress blues and we also opened up the event to students of MIT, the Kennedy School of Government, and members of the Harvard Veterans Alumni Organization. An introductory slideshow showed HBS students what their veteran classmates did while in the military, and the event also featured tributes to all services, a static display of military equipment and gear, a POW/MIA presentation, a presentation of the colors by a local ROTC unit, the playing of the national anthem, a USMC birthday cake cutting ceremony, a bagpiper, student remarks, and of course, an open bar and appetizers served to all. An after-hours party followed in Harvard Square.
This annual event definitely marks one of the highlights of my time at HBS, and many members of the AFAA put a lot of hard work into making it a success, marking the highest profile event that the veterans club on campus holds every year. The purpose of the event is both to celebrate and recognize the service of veterans at HBS, and also to create an inclusive environment for the HBS community to learn more about their veteran classmates and the experiences they bring.
Our guests were presented with AFAA club T-shirts, which have the words "West Point of Capitalism" on the front. The club t-shirts are in high demand on campus, and are sold in the spring to students as part of the AFAA charity drive raising money for the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (last year we raised over $10,000).