Veteran's Day at SMC

In the early mid-day of Nov. 9 at the SMC clock tower, veterans were given a tribute in honor of Veterans Day, which is being observed this Friday. Among the hustle and bustle of the day, as students went to lunch or took a breather from classes, some were aware and some participated in the celebration midway as faculty and members of the Student Veteran Association (SVA) either took part or watched the short ceremony.

After the national anthem and prayer, Alfredo De Teresa, SVA president and host for the ceremony, asked anyone in the audience who was a veteran to stand up. As they stood up, they were applauded by the crowd and given care packages organized by the SVA.

Among the speakers was Christina Humphrey, an ex-marine and part of the SVA. "We should give recognition to those who served," said Humphrey, who also talked about her association with the student veterans. "The Student Veteran Association, y'all have been a family and great friends and great study buddies and I will never forget those times."

Andrew Nicholls of the army reserves gave an emotional personal speech. "Before I was deployed in 2004, my father and I had the longest talk we ever had, we cried and bonded and then I realized that he and other veterans had never really been thanked before."

Sgt. Jere Romano, a former marine and now part of the SMC police talked about having roots in the armed forces all the way back to his grandfather who served in World War II where he was stationed in Asia.

"Anybody who goes over there, they sacrifice themselves, but anybody who has to go sacrifice, they don't just sacrifice their bodies for country, God, Freedom but also for brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers," said Romano.

After more tributes to people who have helped SVA and the student veterans resource center, Mike Tuitasi, vice president of student affairs, spoke about the veteran resource center and their recent grant win. This grant, according to Brenda Benson, dean of counseling and retention, will award SMC $400,000 over the next three years. "This money will help veterans in services and help faculty to orient and equate them with disabled veterans," said Benson. SMC competed with more than 18 schools for this grant.

After a few words of honor to future veterans serving in the current conflict and deceased veterans of all wars, host De Teresa asked the chaplain for a prayer with the song of "TAPS" to honor the veterans.

Although the tribute was short it was honorable nonetheless.