Veterans Day is a time for remembering the fallen and honoring the heroes of American conflicts since the Revolutionary War, Cmdr. Ahmed Qureshi ’89 told the Culver Academies audience Friday. It is also a time to thank those who “just quietly answer the call to serve.”
It is that group of veterans who populated the Culver campus during his time here that inspired Qureshi to become a “citizen soldier.” And, there is a “treasure of veterans” on campus today from which students can learn, ask questions, and be inspired.
After Culver, Qureshi graduated from the Middle East studies program at Brigham Young University and obtained his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He was a yearlong Fulbright grantee to the University of Jordan and later completed his Ph.D. at King’s College, University of London, writing on U.S. policy and military decision making in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
Qureshi has served in various positions in the National Guard and the Army Reserve. He is currently in the Navy Reserve as a commanding officer of a Coronado, Calif.-based support unit. In addition to his military duties, Qureshi is a global business executive, consultant and entrepreneur. He currently serves at the president and chief operating officer of BILT Incorporated.
The values found in the Culver Creed, the Code of Conduct and the Honor Code are timeless.
During his remarks, Qureshi alluded not only to the 62 Culver men who gave their lives in World War I, but all veterans of the United States Military who served in the past and continue to serve, beginning with the Revolutionary War.
“We must be diligent in our efforts to ever learn and never take for granted the freedoms given to us by our Founding Fathers and bought and paid for by the blood of many of our patriots,” he said.
Qureshi pointed to the example of Culver’s five Medal of Honor winners: Jonas Ingram, Jay Zeamer, George Cannon, Henry Drexler and Gordon Yntema. These men, he said, “took their Culver preparation and executed the mission they had been given…we know their names because their bravery went above and beyond the call of duty.”
Most veterans, however, will never see such high military honors or be asked to pay so high a price, he added, but instead will “just quietly answer the call to serve and do their job to the best of their ability.”
Among the military veterans at Culver during his cadet days were Capt. William Pippenger, Col. David Baker, Master Sgt. Mark Click, Master Sgt. James Smith, Lt. Robert Meek, Command Sgt. Maj. John Hudson, and many others. Qureshi described them as “humble mentors and teachers who quietly attempted to shape and influence us whenever they saw an opportunity. I am grateful for the stories and personal insights they shared with us over the years we were at Culver that left an impression on many and ultimately inspired me to put on the uniform and stand at the ready as a citizen soldier.”
Shortly after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Qureshi was recalled to active duty. He told his audience he was once again grateful for “the education, training and mentorship I had received at Culver.
“It is hard to fully appreciate what you have learned here at Culver until you leave and are placed in situations where you have to put to practice the things you were taught (including) about leadership, service, honor, courage and commitment at a much younger age then your peers.”
Reminding the audience that the men and women in the Armed Forces are working around the clock daily to protect their fellow Americans, he exhorted Culver students, faculty, and staff never to forget their service.
“The values found in the Culver Creed, the Code of Conduct and the Honor Code are timeless,” Qureshi added. “Whether we have served in uniform or not, as citizens of this great country, as friends and allies of this nation, we must strive to protect liberty and freedom wherever we can.”