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Alumni Association holds Golden Silence for deceased alumni

By Nathaniel Callaway
On April 13, 2017

President John L. Crain lights the candles for the remembrance of past alumni who have died throughout the last year, just after asking those in attendance to do the same with their candles.
Nathaniel Callaway/The Lion’s Roar

Every year, students, faculty and alumni are invited to the Golden Silence Ceremony hosted by the Southeastern Alumni Association. The event was held on Apr. 3 outside of Pottle at 6 p.m. and included the reading of the names of university alumni who died throughout the past year, a flag ceremony by the Southeastern Army Reserve Officers Training Corps and taps played by Kiersten Jonkman. The event began with President John L. Crain sharing some of the importance of the university family.

“Just like a family, we hurt and we suffer when we lose a member of our Southeastern family,” said Crain. “So every year, we gather to remember our friends and loved ones who are no longer physically with us. Those whose lives we honor today, crossed these paths and walked these grounds just like we all do so often. All who have passed before us have left the university a better place as a result of their unique contributions. Today our Southeastern family includes over 65,000 alumni, almost 15,000 students and nearly 1200 faculty and staff.”

Crain expressed some words of inspiration and remembrance.

“Our family now spans the globe and our rich diversity reflects that of the world itself,” said Crain. “But even with that diversity, we still share many common values. Certainly remembering those we cherished, is something we all have in common. We can take some comfort that our loved ones live on in our memories. Those memories help move us through the initial grief we experience with the loss of a loved one and it is those memories that help reconnect us with those we have lost.”

Crain spoke about what he thought the event meant to the university.

“It’s a special event,” said Crain. “You can tell how much it means to people. I always tell our folks while getting ready, “We have a lot of events, but you know for us this one is an easy event.” It’s not a lot of planning because for some of them there’s a lot of prep work, there’s a lot of planning everything out, a lot of stuff that goes into these things. This is a fairly straight forward, simple event, but it’s one of the most meaningful. It really has a lot of impact on people.”

Crain also shared how some react to the service afterwards while speaking with him and that despite what could have gone wrong, it was a very nice event this year. 

“It’s just always really heartwarming to hear people, sometimes people I know sometimes people I’ve never met before, thank us for it and talk about how much it means to them,” said Crain. “It’s a beautiful setting, beautiful day. The weather cooperated today, and usually, we have a train come by during this event which is a little bit disruptive, but we didn’t have a train today, so it was really nice how everything came together like it did.”

Crain talked about what it meant to him personally.

“I’ve been here for a long time and had names in my family read before, so I’ve been in their shoes,” said Crain. “I know personally what it meant to me. I guess you could say I really understand, and I can identify personally with what it means to people. It’s important to us as a university. It really typifies what we talk about with the Southeastern family, and I think it’s a really great event. We usually think about great events because they’re big and splashy and a lot of fanfare, but this in particular is a great event because of the way it touches people.”

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