Flag Day is coming early this year to the Ouachita Baptist University campus.
Maj. Johnpaul Arnold, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Army, will present an American flag flown in Afghanistan to Ouachita’s School of Humanities. The outdoor ceremony, set for 10 a.m. on Friday, June 7, will be held at Ouachita’s International Flag Plaza.
During his military service, Arnold has been deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan since 9/11. He has been awarded two Bronze Star Medals, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals, a NATO Medal and a Combat Action Badge.
The presentation service will feature the raising of the flag over the Ouachita campus. It also will include brief remarks by Arnold and Ouachita officials as well as the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” with military salute and arms. Following a prayer of dedication, the flag will be presented to the School of Humanities and Rogers Department of Communications for display in Lile Hall.
According to a certificate accompanying the flag, Arnold flew the flag on May 18, 2012, in Afghanistan “in honor of the students, faculty and fallen comrades of Ouachita Baptist University.”
“Flying our U.S. flag in Afghanistan allowed me to say thanks to our great nation, symbolizing the tremendous sacrifice and support during our country’s longest war,” Arnold said. “To have this flag displayed in OBU’s School of Humanities ensures current and future generations of students will understand Ouachita’s role in the Afghanistan war and the price for our many freedoms.
“My four years at Ouachita allowed me to become a commissioned Army officer, a leader and a servant to our nation,” he added. “I am honored to present my alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University, this U.S. flag, flown in Afghanistan, as an enduring tribute to OBU’s faculty, students, veterans and fallen comrades.”
Dr. Jeff Root, dean of Ouachita’s School of Humanities, noted, “It is significant that JP Arnold took his mass communications major into military service through the U.S. Army. He has served across the globe, including Iraq and Afghanistan. As a faculty, we’re pleased that some of the skills he developed here have been further honed by military training and have been exercised in service to our country.
“The flag will be a perfect addition to the newly renovated Lile Hall,” Root said. “We will honor America with this gift, and we’ll also highlight the career of an alumnus whose example will be meaningful to our current students.”
The June 7 ceremony is open to the public. Military veterans and area residents are invited to attend. For more information, contact Dr. Jeff Root at 870-245-4186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.