Veterans Honored at AACC
Military Resource Center in full swing during Veterans Day.
American flags were fluttering in the wind yesterday at Anne Arundel Community College in tribute to United States veteran soldiers and those who are currently deployed. The school planned a day of events to honor the veterans.
The kickoff was a Veterans' Appreciation Celebration at 11 a.m. at the Amphitheater on West Campus. Dr. Martha A. Smith, president, Anne Arundel Community College, welcomed the crowd.
"Thank you all for coming together today to recognize and thank our service men and women and veterans for everything they have done – and continue to do – for our country."
Everyone proudly stood as the AACC Color Guard presented the colors. Then Ret. U.S. Navy and AACC adjunct faculty member Marc Boensel sang the Star Spangled Banner (a capella).
"We, at the community's college, have benefited from the service of our veterans and military in more ways than one," said Smith. "Many members of our AACC team or their families have served, or still are serving, in the military."
Doug Snure, business manager of Nectar Silks and an AACC student, attended the ceremony. As a veteran of the Korean War, Snure vividly recalls how soldiers were treated when they returned home. "It's often called the forgotten war," he said. "Like many of our wars, it didn't prove a point."
"I think it's a wonderful thing the school's doing," continued Snure. "The people in the military today are not really acknowledged by most of the people in the country because it's such a small amount of people serving in Afghanistan and our life goes on."
Snure added that life was different in WW II due to rationing and lack of consumer goods. "Everyone knew there was a war."
Military heroes were recognized during a Reading of Names – a college tradition for the past seven years. The list was comprised of AACC family members, faculty and staff and students.
Though the Veterans Day ceremony is a one time of year event, AACC has proven to be a huge supporter of those in the military year-round. The school was selected this year as a "Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities" Honoree.
"I am proud to say we were chosen because of our commitment to do whatever we can to help our service men and women and veterans to advance in their career and achieve their educational goals," announced Smith.
AACC has a new Military and Veteran Resource Center, established last February as an area for the military and veteran students to come together and connect with one another.
Cheryl Miller, AACC virtual campus liaison, advocated a campaign for the Center when she realized that students had no place to go for assistance when transitioning from military to civilian life.
"I became sensitive to their needs and how difficult it was for them to go to school," expressed Miller. "Attending school is more complicated for them. It's not easy."
According to Miller, the center and web site help to connect resources for students when they have questions. The office itself houses a back room with a television and sofa where students can talk. Currently, the Veterans Student Association meets there. In the front room, students are greeted with a friendly face and brochures with information. One program offered is the Veterans Ambassador Program, which matches mentors with students.
To aid in the Veterans Day celebration, Miller was at the Student Union Dining Hall yesterday handing out free cupcakes and asking AACC students and faculty to create cards for military members. The cards were sent to soldiers at the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport's International Terminal Baggage Claim Area along with a care package of drinks and snacks. The AACC Child Care Development Center also made cards that were added into the packages.
"A lot of the soldiers aren't coming home," said Miller. "Some of them are in transition."
Cell phones were also collected in the Student Union Dining Hall throughout the week. Miller said the events were a combined effort made through the Military and Veterans Coordinating Council.
Smith closed yesterday's ceremony, saying "Anne Arundel Community College serves so many students who have - or are now serving - our country through a military commitment, and this event really brings this message home for all of us."
Greg Pascuzzi concluded the celebration with a playing of "Taps."