Honor and recognize veterans

Truman State University hosted its annual Veteran's Day Service.

The ceremony honored and recognized veterans who have served in the armed forces.

The ceremony also honored former student and Marine Corps veteran Jedh Barker. Barker enrolled at Truman State University in the mid 1960s, following a standout athletic career at Park Ridge High School in New Jersey. He was a member of Maurice "Red" Wade's Bulldog football squad.

Barker left Truman and enlisted in the Marine Corps in May of 1966. He hails from a deeply rooted military family. His father George served in the Marines in World War II, and his brother Warren was awarded the Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War.

While on patrol September 21, 1967, near Con Thein South Vietnam, Barker's unit came under fire. As a Lance Corporal machine gunner, Barker returned enemy fire. He was wounded twice and continued to battle. An enemy hand grenade was dropped among the wounded Marines. Barker reached out and pulled the grenade underneath him. The blast horribly wounded Barker and several other Marines. He spent his final moments of his life helping another wounded comrade.

For his act of heroism, the Medal of Honor was presented to Barker's family by Vice President Spiro Agnew in the White House ceremonies on October 31, 1969. The Medal of Honor was created during the Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States Government to a member of its armed forces.

Barker is the only Truman student to have ever received the Medal of Honor. Barker's brother, John Barker was in attendance and spoke at the ceremony on behalf of his family.

A dedication of a sculpture called "The Purple Heart" was designed and created by local artist, Brandon Crandall. The sculpture will be placed outside of the entrance of Towne Museum and Visitors Center on Truman State University's campus. The sculpture will compliment a series of plaques that memorialize Truman alumni who gave the ultimate sacrifice.