By Brandon Borrego
Although United Staff Council recently convinced the Alamo Colleges board of trustees to give staff the entire spring break off in exchange for eliminating Memorial Day as a holiday, not everyone is happy about it.
“Crazy,” sophomore Steven Alvarado said. “It just takes away from Memorial Day’s purpose.”
Alvarado was in the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army, which specializes in paratrooping, and is now seeking a degree in network infrastructure.
This will make honoring fallen veterans graveside more difficult because this college’s hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. while one of San Antonio’s most honored burial grounds, Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Other burial grounds follow similar hours.
Memorial Day is observed the last Monday in May. The elimination of the holiday also affects students and faculty during Maymester, a three-week session between spring and summer.
Alamo Colleges trustees voted Jan. 21 to give staff off the first three days of spring break in exchange for staff, faculty and students forfeiting a day off for Memorial Day.
District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz suggested organizing a memorial service for fallen soldiers at the board meeting Jan. 21.
Chancellor Bruce Leslie responded, “We will be here and not at the mall celebrating the commitment and dedication of our servicemen.”
José Ramirez, a prenursing sophomore who is a work-study in the veterans affairs office, said Memorial Day is not about honoring all service personnel.
“Most people think that Memorial Day and Veterans Day have the same purpose,” he said, noting Memorial Day is for honoring “those who have died for our country.”
He suggested there be some sort of pictorial or visual observation posted at the college.
Ramirez said he and other veterans understand many students are more concerned about celebrating a day off.
Ramirez’s grandfather was a Mexican-American who fought in the Navy in World War II. “It is a passing of generations, and we are responsible for honoring those actions.”
Being an educational institution in a military city, we ought to get it right.