ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Just two days before Veterans Day, Ithaca College hosted its 20th Annual Veterans Day Celebration to honor active-duty military and veterans. A large portion of the event honored vets through music.

"Music was an important part of the of the event. So, the idea was simply to honor our former students, former faculty who served in any of the branches of service, and to honor those who are serving right now," said Master of Ceremonies and Retired U.S. Army Operations Officer, Arthur Ostrander.

Members from the college's Treble Chorale, Brass Quintet, and Trombone Troupe each performed songs honoring America.

Ostrander said it's important to honor vets every day, and not just on Veterans Day.

"It's easy to forget. It's simply easy to forget the sacrifices that so many Americans made. World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, and other conflicts as well...we don't want to forget, we want to remember. We want to draw attention to those who served and those who will serve," said Ostrander.

The event's keynote speaker was retired U.S. Army Sergeant, Joey Diana Gates. She talked about the relationship between patriotism and environmentalism.

"This is a journey [that began] through my service in the military. When I was stationed in South Korea, it was the third most polluted city in the world, which had an impact on my lung health and [it] actually still does. You could see a man-made island of garbage as you flew into the city where I was stationed. These things made me see over time especially, as our links to the land as people," said Gates.

Patriotism is the love of your land and country. Environmentalism is the care and stewardship of the land, the waters, and the air. Gates said if we can't drink or fish the waters, [if] we can't breathe our air, how can we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

"When you take care of the land, you're taking care of your country and the people in it. Health impacts the quality of I think if you're taking care of the environment, you're taking care of your country," said Gates.

Veterans who attended were honored towards the end of the ceremony with an Armed Forces Salute, where the band played the official songs of each of the six branches.