Veterans Day Ceremony: Nov. 9, 2017
The Victory Center will open in mid-February, the president said.
By Sarah Centeno
Veterans of the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force gathered Nov. 9 south of Loftin Student Center to celebrate Veterans Day.
More than 100 people attended the ceremony to respect those who have fought and died for their country’s freedom.
The ASL Glee Club performed an interpretation of the national anthem while students, faculty and veterans stood with their hands over their hearts.
Marine Corps veteran Orlando Lopez led a prayer, and students walking to classes stopped and paid their respects.
Mike Elliot, an interpreter at this college, was in charge of the ASL Glee Club’s performance.
“I have a very strong family history in the armed forces, and I am also very involved in the ASL community here at this college,” Elliot said. “Being able to have the two communities come together and have a visual performance that shows honor and respect to the veterans of our community is really important to me as well as the rest of our group.”
A wreath with red, white and blue flowers was presented by two student veterans while other veterans marched behind them.
College President Robert Vela explained the history of Veterans Day.
“President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed this day should be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country service with gratitude for the victory,” Vela said. “The U.S. originally celebrated this day to honor the ceasefire that ended World War l. Veterans Day honors all military personnel who have served our great nation and gave us time to reflect upon their great bravery, courage and personal sacrifice for this country.”
Veterans make up 10 percent of this college’s students, Vela said.
Kayla Salwey, president of the Student Government Association and an Air Force veteran, praised the veterans affairs office at this college.
“I am SAC proud,” Salwey said. “We have the largest population of the Alamo Colleges. My journey here at SAC started the first time I stepped into the VA office. I knew that they cared about me and the veterans in the department.”
This college has 1,700 veterans enrolled, according to the veterans affairs office.
Salwey said faculty and staff treat veterans with respect and kindness.
“Veterans are provided with academic support, leadership development and educational support services,” Salwey said.
Vela and Salwey presented veterans with challenge coins.
Challenge coins are collectable tokens given to veterans as a thank you for their service and to commemorate Veterans Day.
In an interview after the ceremony, Vela said the Victory Center under construction in the northeast section of the campus will open in February.
“We plan on doing a big ribbon-cutting ceremony to open it,” Vela said.
The opening of the center has been delayed because of rain, he said.
“The veterans represent a segment of our student body,” he said. “We are celebrating these veteran students because they want to pursue their education, but they’ve also sacrificed a lot. They have sacrificed personal things to do what they did for our country.”
He said the college is supportive of veterans.
“We’re so honored to have you here as our student, and we want to do everything we can to support you,” he said.
For more information on services for veterans, call the college veterans affairs office at 210-486-0111.