Marywood honors veterans at annual ceremony


Photo credit/ Amanda Duncklee

Flags fly next to a binder with the names of those who served.

Amanda Duncklee, Community Editor

Frigid November winds swept the field adjacent to Marywood’s Veterans’ Resource Center (VRC) last Friday, but the forceful gale proved no match for over 7,000 American flags standing sturdily in the ground, each representing a fallen veteran.

Every year on or around Veterans Day, Marywood holds a ceremony to commemorate veterans, and this year was no exception. Members of the Marywood community gathered at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, for the special event which included prayer and thanksgiving.

Members of the Student Veteran Alliance organized the event and have been planning it since October, according to Senior Art Therapy Major Tiffany Brzenk. She said the flags took about a week to place and said the community enjoys seeing them.

“We see a lot of people walk by and look at them,” said Brzenk of the flags. “A veteran thanked us for putting them out for [the veteran’s] fallen brothers and sisters.”

Photo credit: Amanda Duncklee Over 7,000 flags are adjacent to the Veterans Resource Center.

Though most of the flags are placed in a group, there is one portion of the flags that creates a walkway. At the end of this walkway is a table with a binder on it: Names of the Fallen, a list of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Chief of Campus Safety Michael Pasqualicchio attends the ceremony every year to “show support for the veterans and all they do for the country.”

“We should show support for veterans every day, not just today,” said Pasqualicchio while standing next to the flags.

The ceremony started with Sr. Cathy Luxner, IHM, director of Campus Ministry, who offered a prayer for veterans.

Following the prayer was a moment of silence at 11:11 a.m. for the fallen soldiers. “Taps” played during this solemn time.

Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, president of Marywood, spoke following Luxner’s prayer. Persico thanked veterans for serving, the crowd for attending and called upon attendees to strive for an end to war.

“We, every day of our lives, can be preventers of war,” said Persico. “One person at a time can stop the hatred, anger, violence and bigotry that causes war.”

Colonel Lorraine Rupp Breen, a Marywood alumna from the class of 1978, spoke to attendees following Persico’s address. Breen thanked Marywood for having the annual ceremony, which she said was nonexistent during her time at Marywood.

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the fighting of the Great War came to a stop,” said Breen of the origins of Veterans Day. “[Soldiers serve] not for recognition or honor… but they fight to protect their country and the American way of life.”

Breen then discussed how it was not only the responsibility of soldiers to support the American way of life, but also American citizens’ role, and challenged everyone to get involved in the community by voting and volunteering.

Christine Black, the director of Military and Veteran Services, considered the event a success despite the wintry weather.

“We thought about having this inside, but we love the backdrop,” said Black of the flags in the field. “This is a visual reminder of why we have Veterans Day.”

As for appreciating veterans every day, Black recommended people talk to someone who has served.

“Learn a veteran’s story; don’t ask if they killed anybody—ask what they learned,” said Black. “You’ll be amazed at what different perspectives can bring to your learning experience at Marywood.”

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