/Alumni host reunion of WWII era grads, veterans

Alumni host reunion of WWII era grads, veterans

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Sinclair Portis

Staff Writer

Troy University alumni from the World War II era gathered on Friday, Oct. 15, for the annual Troy Alumni World War II Veterans Reunion.
Sponsored by Troy University Alumni Association, this reunion is held every year for those who attended Troy University during this time as well as those who fought in the war.
These men and women gather to reunite, mourn those who have been lost and reminisce on their times at Troy University.
Attendees were treated to a three-course dinner and some musical entertainment from their time. The Sound of the South jazz band and the Frequency choral group performed popular songs from the era, including songs like “Moonlight Serenade” and “A String of Pearls.”
As they shared memories, they spoke of their lives as students at Troy, to include their professors, whose names now serve as many of the building names around campus.
Mary Weiss, Miss Troy State University 1938, who is 96 years old, spoke of her times at Troy with great vigor. She spoke of her past teachers and coaches by the names of Sartain and Adams and remembers taking classes in Bibb Graves and Shackelford.
“It was wonderful; it was a wonderful year,” Weiss said. “My husband, Mark, has often said that the four best years of his life were right here. He loved every minute of it, and I feel the same way.”
Though this is a joyous ceremony, they also acknowledge those who have passed away since their last reunion. They cherish these moments because the numbers of those who lived during those times are dwindling.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, it is estimated that only 620,000 of American veterans who fought in the war are still alive of the 16 million Americans who served in the war.
Jean Laliberte, associate vice chancellor of development, has attended the reunion since her appointment to associate vice chancellor in 2000. According to Laliberte, last year’s reunion attendance was double in comparison to this year’s.
“I just think we’re very lucky to be able to interact with people from other generations to see what it was like then,” Laliberte said. “Unfortunately, the opportunity is going to be gone all too soon.”
“We enjoy it,” said Fran Gruby, a 1951 Troy graduate and a former university cheerleader. “We’re getting few and far between … but we really enjoy it.”
Many of those in attendance cherish the reunion and look forward to seeing their friends again each year. The interaction and the entertainment is meaningful to them.
“It was fun,” Gruby said. “It was really nice. The food was good, and we appreciate it … we really do.”
This event has been held for years, and the alumni intend on continuing to host the event for as long as possible.