"My military career began the historic moment my proud dad (a WWII and Korean War veteran) pinned my bars onto my uniform, making me the first commissioned officer in our family’s history. Just a few years earlier he had refused to sign papers to allow me to enlist in the Navy because he said he wanted a better future for me and believed I had greater potential. He was right. Military service opened doors of opportunity I could never have imagined growing up in an impoverished area on the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas. I began experiencing a bigger, more diverse world; learned the importance of leadership, teamwork and accountability; earned a government-financed advanced degree (MBA); and, importantly, I gained a more personal appreciation of the meaning of freedom and justice…for ALL. On this day that we recognize our veterans, I salute my dad, Woodrow Keown, Sr., for inspiring me to do more, and be more, than I thought possible."
Woodrow Keown, Jr.
President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center