On Monday, November 12, students gathered outside Hillwood Commons at the Flag Pole to celebrate its 4th Annual Veterans Day Flag Ceremony during common hour. Samantha Vega, the President of Veterans and Students United (VSU) delivered her welcome speech and explained how VSU helps veterans in need and deployed soldiers. “We support them through donating various times throughout the year to the Wounded Warriors project,” said Vega, a senior English Literature major, “we send out cards and this year we are starting pillowcases for the troops where they can actually send them over to a unit we adopted.”
Following the opening speech, Father Ted Brown, Director of Religious Life, delivered a moving prayer for the soldiers who are serving or have served our nation.
Dr. Forestell thanked the men and women in the armed services for protecting “the way of life that we have come to believe in and hope for and work to sustain here in the United States” in his speech. He also stated the importance of welcoming returning service men and women back into our communities after defending our country. Dr. Forestell said, “It really is important that we form a community here that provides people with the space and resources so they their life may continue to chase their dreams and success just like the rest of us.”
Later in the ceremony, United States Marine Corps Veteran and Information Management and Technology major, Matthew Gabriel and United State Coast Guard and Vice President of VSU, Michael Knauer spoke to the students that were in attendance.
“There are things that you have to adjust to when you come back to the civilian world,” said Gabriel. He spoke of how the school and Adam Grohman, Director of Student Conduct and Community Education Coordinator of Veteran and Military Affairs, welcomed him to LIU Post when he was looking to go back to school. “I remembered I spoke directly to Adam and he spoke to me like I was already enrolled in the school. I was already welcomed in and there were no questions asked.” Gabriel also expressed to the audience that “the little things to us matter.” Whether it was a handshake, or a simple thank you, it matters to Gabriel and other service men and women.
Knauer served in the US Coast Guard for ten years. Knauer shared, “VSU was started by an Army veteran named Steven. One of the things that Steven wanted to do was to make sure that VSU facilitated veterans helping other veterans when they returned, came back, made the transition back into life. It’s brought back a sense of camaraderie something I have missed since I’ve been back from the military. Another thing we’ve done is bring awareness to LIU Post. There’s a real appreciation for us and we really, really appreciate all of you.”
The ceremony closed with a speech from Dr. Steinberg. “This University stands for education and the future and energy and opportunity. We welcome back the group of men and women who have served their country.” Acknowledging the veterans that spoke of their experiences, Dr. Steinberg said, “I feel very pleased that this University has heard them and their needs and is trying to meet them.”
Refreshments were also served at the top of Hillwood Commons immediately after the ceremony and students and guests were able to speak with all the veterans in attendance. “To be able to work with the veterans here on campus and put together such a huge event is a honor,” said Vega.
G.I. Jobs named LIU Post Military Friendly for the third time, as one of the top 15 percent of military friendly colleges in the nation. For more information on Veterans and Students United, please email them at email@example.com. To contact the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, contact Adam Grohman at firstname.lastname@example.org.