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University of South Dakota hosts dedication ceremony for new ‘Patriots Plaza’

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VERMILLION, S.D. (KTIV) -- The University of South Dakota celebrated Veterans Day with a dedication ceremony for its newest addition to campus: Patriots Plaza.

Among the speakers for the ceremony were University President Sheila Gestring and Congressman Dusty Johnson, who talked about the importance of honoring veterans, past and present.

The plaza features cast-iron plaques honoring three USD alumni who were also Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, and plaques honoring the different branches of the U.S. military.

Lieutenant Colonel Dan Sundberg said it's a great addition to the campus.

"It's incredible because the school's been working on this, like they said for four or five years. And it's just great I feel for veterans especially to feel like they belong here on campus. And hopefully it will inspire other young men and women at USD to decide to serve," Dan Sundberg, Lt. Colonel and professor of military science.

Christopher Mercado, Major in the infantry of the U.S. Army said the plaza is a great way to honor those who have served in the past and those who are currently serving.

The plaza will stand for students past, present and future to enjoy.

"As a student here in 2004, I wish we would have had something like this where I could walk by and see every day. Not only recognizing the service of veterans past, but also thinking and reflecting on the service that I'm about to embark upon," said Major Christopher Mercado.

Mercado adds it was a great opportunity to be able to have the dedication ceremony on Veterans day to stop and reflect on the courage and patriotism of all U.S. veterans.

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Emily Schrad

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