Today is a day that all Americans old enough to remember stop and catch their breath in the early a.m. hours remembering all the people that lost their live to senseless terrorism. In light of all of the negative reminders, organizations like The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, try to honor those that died needlessly – including the military that gave their life defending our country.
The Long Gray Line at The Citadel has many graduates that have served our country well. There are also many of those brave men and women that have lost their lives doing so; safeguarding our freedoms. As of May of 2013, a total of 18 Citadel graduates have been known to give their lives for the safety of our country.
The last, Army Sergeant Aaron X. Wittman, a 2007 Citadel grad was only 28 years old when he became the first American casualty of 2013. Wittman was struck down by small arms fire on January 10th while serving the mounted patrol on his second deployment. For his bravery and honor, he was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
His family, also honorable, donated his Citadel ring, a most prized possession, to The Citadel Alumni Association’s “Band of Gold” program. It was melted down and included in the gold used to cast the rings for the Class of 2014. Each and every cadet that receives their ring this Parent’s Weekend will feel the honor and glory of having a part of Sgt. Wittman with them! They will be able to display his commitment to family, friends and his country by proudly wearing their rings and doing what they can to live up to his honor.
In addition to this great honor, the Wittman family and Aaron’s classmates established the Aaron X. Wittman Memorial Scholarship at The Citadel. The endowment of this scholarship has reached the level of about $74,000. The goal is to reach $100,000 by Christmas of 2013. This way, the very first Scholarship can be awarded early in 2014 to a deserving Cadet or a qualifying Veteran Student. What an honor in light of September 11th!
If you would like to honor an individual in light of 9-11 or would like to simply do something good on a day that will live in infamy, feel free to make a non-taxable donation of $50 or more through The Citadel Foundation to the Aaron X. Wittman Scholarship Fund. For this donation, the Board will send you an Aaron X. Wittman Hero Bracelet specifically designed to display the special relationship between the Class of 2014, The Citadel Band of Gold Program and Aaron’s legacy.
For more information, go to: https://foundation.citadel.edu/wittman or see them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aaron-Wittman-Foundation/587349961290897.