November 12, 2021 : By Logan Smith - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Liberty University welcomed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the stage on Friday for its Military Appreciation Convocation, where he spoke on American exceptionalism, the dangers of wokeness, and summarized four virtues that Christians should embody: vision, hope, gratitude, and forgiveness.
Pompeo’s visit comes as Liberty celebrates veterans, active military, and their families for Military Appreciation Month. Prior to his diplomatic career, Pompeo served in the U.S. Army. Following his extensive career in the military, Pompeo served as a United States Congressman, representing Kansas (2011-17). He was later selected to become the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President Donald Trump (2017-18), and most recently he served as the 70th United States Secretary of State (2018-21).
“It’s an honor and a lot of fun for me to be here with you today,” Pompeo said. “As a former solder myself, to honor those in the military as you have done today, is something you should be very proud of.”
Thomas Road Baptist Church worship leader Charles Billingsley led the audience in singing the national anthem before Campus Pastor Jonathan Falwell recognized the more than 30,000 Liberty students who are serving or have served in the military, as well as their families.
“Here at Liberty University, we have always had a high regard and respect for the men and women who have served in our armed forces,” Falwell said.
Pompeo dedicated much of his time encouraging students to be thankful for the men and women throughout history who fought to ensure the future of America.
“No civilization has achieved the human dignity that we have bestowed on our people here,” Pompeo said. “Our conception of community and our nation today, however, is threatened. That’s why it’s up to us, people of faith, to lead our country back. It’s how we’ll strengthen American families and country.”
“History is the sum total of actions, both good and bad, brave and irresolute, and it cannot be parsed and strained to remove certain parts that are offensive,” he added. “For to do so is to rob our past of the richness and complexity that built the road to the present day.”
The Department of Student Activities and the Office of Military Affairs have organized and implemented many exciting events throughout November, including multiple sporting events where veterans and active military members will be honored. The Valley View Major Mike Donahue 5-Miler will start and end at the Hydaway Outdoor Center on Saturday at 9 a.m. Flames Football’s home matchups against Louisiana on Nov. 20 and Army on Nov. 27 will include special military recognitions. Liberty’s ACHA Division I men’s hockey team will dedicate its game tonight (Friday night) against Ohio to honoring veterans.
Pompeo encouraged students to represent a staple mission of Liberty’s founder, Jerry Falwell Sr.: “If it’s Christian, it ought to be better.” To fulfill this calling, he said students should exemplify vision, hope, gratitude, and forgiveness in all that they do.
“I have no doubt that Satan is real and that he seeks to divide our nation through discord and exploitation,” Pompeo said. “We as Christians must find joy and hope and must suffuse our churches and the places where we walk in each and every day with joy and hope.”
Pompeo delivered a keynote address as part of the Standing for Freedom Center’s “Freedom Uncensored” event Friday afternoon.