Adapt and Overcome: UDC honors Veterans Day with rousing speech from Army Captain

Adapt and Overcome: UDC honors Veterans Day with rousing speech from Army Captain

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Adapt and Overcome: UDC honors Veterans Day with rousing speech from Army Captain

Veterans Day 2022 celebration

Today, in honor of Veterans Day 2022, UDC held its 16th annual Veterans Day event, sponsored by the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services. This year’s theme was “Adapt and Overcome.” Captain Angelena C. Garland, a true American hero, was the keynote speaker and knows a lot about adapting and overcoming. A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Captain Garland serves as the Ceremonies Operations Officer in Charge for the Ceremonies and Outreach Directorate, Military District of Washington, Washington D.C.

Chief Student Development and Success Officer Dr. William U. Latham presided over the ceremony and welcomed attendees to the UDC Student Center at the Van Ness Campus. The Jackson-Reed JROTC Honor Guard performed the presentation of colors, and Carlisle Greaves performed the national anthem. Other participants included the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Director Elliot Tommingo, Director of Veterans Affairs at UDC Sequoyah Adebayo and the Honorable Nick Charles (09) of the Maryland House of Delegates, District 25.

Alexander ‘Alex’ Ciccone (23), a business management major, introduced the keynote speaker.

Captain Garland has served in the U.S. Army for over 13 years and gave an inspirational speech in which she talked about the various challenges she has endured to succeed in her career. In fact, being in the Armed Forces wasn’t a goal when she was in high school.

“I had no intention of joining the military, ever. I thought I was going to college to run track.”

Yet, she did join the Army, and her life has never been the same.

Captain Garland graduated from E.C. Glass High School in 2009. After various obstacles and a lot of persistence, she was selected for the Army Green to Gold Program in 2014 and graduated from Norfolk State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication. She was commissioned into the United States Army Adjutant General Corps in December 2017. Captain Garland graduated summa cum laude honors and was an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate.

“I knew there was something special inside me, and it took the military to get it out,” she said. “I am so happy to be where I am now, and I am grateful to those who went before me, and I am determined to help others who follow me,” she said.

Dr. Latham, University Events and Protocol Senior Advisor Lee Brian Reba and Adebayo presented Captain Garland with an award in honor of her service to the District and the nation, on behalf of the UDC Board of Trustees, President Mason and the entire UDC community.

“This award means so much to me,” Captain Garland said. “I have had many speaking engagements this year but coming to UDC is my favorite. I am thrilled to be here and to receive this honor.”

Captain Garland was recently selected to the Public Affairs Branch and will attend the Defense Information School (DINFOS) in April 2023. She was also chosen by the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA) as an Army Social Media Brand Ambassador.

Her awards and decorations include the Joint Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (4 OLC), Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Although she has numerous accolades and leads an exciting life, which includes regularly escorting the President of the United States Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to various events, Captain Garland has remained extremely humble and appreciative of what the military has done for her, what she went through to get here and her role as a veteran.

“When I look back at my life, how undisciplined I once was, how I got kicked out of JROTC back in high school, to how I survived a drive-by shooting in 2016—all of it—to where I am now, I am thankful,” she said. “You must adapt and overcome. Wherever you are now in your life, no matter the obstacles you face, keep pressing forward,” she said. “This moment that you are in is a teachable moment. Keep pressing on.”