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RIT Veterans Day Breakfast

Nov 11, 2015

Hundreds of people attended Rochester Institute of Technology's fifth annual Veterans Day Breakfast.

The event was held at the Gordon Field House.

On Veterans Day, the organizer of the breakfast, Barry Culhane, said the school has a message.

"I think Pres. Destler said it very well, we thank you for protecting our freedoms, freedoms that we enjoy every day, and freedoms for which you've made the sacrifices."

Among the veterans in attendance, Gary Beikirch of Greece, one of only 79 living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

He notes that just one percent of the U-S population has served their country.

"Never have so many been so blessed to receive so much from so few. Only 1 percent of our population stands between us and losing our freedoms."

Beikirch says those who have the medal realize it's special, but the recipients aren't -- they're just ordinary people.

Lt. Colonel Ann Gallucci is commander of the Air Forec ROTC unit at RIT.

"Veterans come in all sizes, shapes and ages. Don't make assumptions about veterans, because we are very -- we're just like everybody else."

RIT has nearly 200 ROTC Army or Air Force cadets, and has a long history of accommodating the educational needs of returning veterans, dating all the way back to the end of World War II.

Galluci says they will gather again for the sixth annual Veterans Breakfast at RIT on November 11th, 2016. 

Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch talks with WXXI's Alex Crichton at RIT's Veterans Day Breakfast
Credit Greg Livadas, RIT