Past and present veterans honored at third annual event

Brigid Edmunds and Brandon Melo

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Photo credit/ Autumn Granza

Marywood student veterans were asked to place flags in Tree Stadium at the ceremony.

Autumn Granza, Editor-in-Chief

The Office of Military and Veteran Services and the Student Veterans Alliance (SVA) teamed up for their third annual Veterans Day event. The Flags for the Fallen Campaign was set up in Tree Stadium located just outside of the Veterans Resource Center, formerly Bethany Hall, which now houses The Office of Military and Veteran Services.

The Nov. 11 service also took place in Tree Stadium because the previous location–the Memorial Commons, the space outside of the Liberal Arts Center–is closed for construction.

“I think the fact that [the event] is so close to the street and North Washington Ave. has definitely made it a little easier for the community to participate, and the fact that the flags are now next to the Veterans Resource Center is fantastic,” said Lauren Williams, director of Military and Veteran Services.

Christopher Smith, president of SVA, a student veteran, and senior nutrition and dietetics major, agreed.

“Community involvement has been a lot better,” said Smith. “When it was at [the Memorial Commons] it was kind of isolated from the community… But, having it here on this main street allowed more people to see it and it was more visible this year.”

The crowd stood around more than 6,800 flags, up from last year’s 6,746 flags. Each flag represents a fallen soldier from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

“I think that this is a great new memorial sight for our veterans to display the flags,” said Katie Chowanec, senior child studies major. “I think it was an excellent event to show our support for all of the veterans here in our country and in our community, and I would love to see this event continue.”

According to Smith, SVA has seen support from veterans outside of the Marywood community. Multiple VFWs throughout the area have donated more than 600 flags.

This year, podiums along the edge of the flags listed the names of the fallen soldiers.

“I think it was an extra personal touch so people can see that these flags are representative of an individual person and his or her family,” said Williams.

In conjunction with The Flags for the Fallen Campaign, the Remembrance Wall was also on display in the Liberal Arts Center. The Remembrance Wall was created as an interactive wall for the Marywood community to write “thank you” notes for veterans or those who are currently serving. The wall was created by a group of junior interior architecture students from Maria McDonald’s class last year.

“I think it is wonderful now that we still have a piece of the Veterans Day ceremony somewhere else on campus,” said Williams. “It makes it more of a campus wide event and the Remembrance Wall is a beautiful gesture for people to just go and have a moment with themselves and the Remembrance Wall to thank a veteran, to write down a message to a family member or friend who has served, or just to say thank you in general.”

The Color Guard was provided by The University of Scranton Warrior Battalion and Marywood’s Trumpeters played “Echo TAPS,” before a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.

There are currently more than 100 active military, veterans and family members attending Marywood.

“Each [veteran] holds a special place in my heart,” said Williams. “Even if they’ve only been here for a semester or if they’ve been here with me now over the last three years, they are not just Marywood students, they are not just veterans. They are friends, and we are a family. So every year, the ceremony becomes that much more special because I know how special it is to them.”

Students are welcome to join The Student Veterans Alliance. SVA is open to all students. For more information contact Lauren Williams at [email protected]