Celebrating and Serving Veterans on Campus

By Patricia Ressell-Deras
Opinion Editor

HACKENSACK – The annual Veterans Day Ceremony was held on Monday afternoon in front of Dickinson Hall on the Metropolitan campus. The speakers at this year’s ceremony could be described as an all-star veteran line up, ranging from a student veteran to faculty veterans.

The ceremony opened with an acapella cover of the national anthem performed by senior Mercedez Zea. Student veteran, Marine Corps Sergeant Christopher Putnam, led the ceremony in saluting the national anthem.

A moment of silence was observed before the ceremony carried on.

Campus executive Steve Nelson, an Air Force veteran from the Gulf War, began the ceremony with a brief history of “Veterans Day,” which originally was called “Armistice Day.” In 1938, the name was changed to the official Veterans Day. Since then, America has honored the sacrifice and service of those who have worked, fought, toiled, lived and died for our country and our way of life.

Nelson talked about the service and sacrifice that military members make today.

“Every military member chose this life. They chose to enter service. They chose to go through basic training, and put their lives on the line in service to this country. To me that is dedication,” Nelson said.

Putnam returned to the podium once again to give a speech on his experience being a student veteran on the Metro campus.

“I have grown bigger, with a bigger family of veterans, students, staff and faculty,” Putnam said. “I have definitely accomplished many of my goals, and some things I didn’t think was possible, with the help of other veterans [who] really put the definition behind serving your community beyond service.”

Putnam ended his remarks with a thanks to the staff, professors and veterans who work on the Metro campus. Putnam then introduced the next speaker, Professor Joel Trella, an E4 Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War era.

Professor Trella talked about his own story of transitioning from military service to student life and teaching.

“It gives me great pride and pleasure to see veterans in the classroom,” Trella said. “It gives me tremendous pride to speak to all the veterans here, and to all the veterans who are not here. I thank them for their courage and commitment.”

In an interview afterwards, Trella provided some advice to student veterans. “Understand that once you know the process, it doesn’t seem to be overwhelming,” Trella said. “Once you find some comfort with how these things work, it’ll make it a lot easier.”

Trella also talked about the issue of student veterans taking too many courses. When some student veterans transition to a school schedule, they have a tendency to take too many credits.

“When you start out, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself,” said Trella. “Get in, get comfortable, and take the appropriate amount of credits so you don’t get overwhelmed.”




img_3682.jpgPhoto by Patricia Ressell-Deras

Faculty and student veterans who served are honored at the Veterans Day ceremony.