Veterans Luncheon

copyright B. Crane

Veterans Honored for Veterans Day at Hillel

By B. Crane (This is written in a partnership with in the spirit of Americans uniting).

November 10th 2010 the day before Veteran’s Day, there was a luncheon at the Hillel Building. There were about eighty attendees including dignitaries like the Borough President Liaison Leslie Lewis, Vice President Steve Little and Vice President Milga Morales. There was color guard, taps and roll call. The highlight was the three USO singers who were on TV, singing at the New York parade. They sang famous old war songs and many from the 1940’s like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. I thought they sounded too good and must be mouthing the words and using a CD, until one of their microphones went dead and you could hear their voices.

“It is the first time in forty years I knew the words to the songs,” said Brooklyn Borough President Criminal Justice Liaison and World War II veteran Leslie Lewis, who is in his 80’s. One party joked that with such attractive USO singers could make him enlist in the service.

There were moments of silence for those who gave their lives for the country. “It was touching and moving and brought tears to my eyes,” said the Magner Center’s Pat Finch.

“Vets that are united and active can accomplish a lot,” said Mike Gold, who was one of the founders of the BC Veterans Affairs Office. The luncheon was emceed by student Jesus Gonzales, who is on the swimming team and a life guard. He said, “Freedom is not free.” Vice President Milga Morales reflected on members of her family that served. She said veterans are globally engaged; they bring their experience to BC and are the best citizens. She said we should embrace and engage them.

The keynote speaker was Colonel David Everett, who has two Bronze stars and attended BC. He said that America will only remain the land of the free as long as she is home of the brave.

The Saint John’s University ROTC members were present, as were some disabled veterans from SOFEDUP. There was a wide age range. The event brought together many that had never been to Hillel. Many departments were represented in attendance from Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department Chairperson Maria Perez Y Gonzalez, Deputy Chairperson Antonio Nadal, Associate Dean for Student Affairs Jacqueline Williams, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs Dave Bryan, Student Center Administrator Ryan Buck and Facilities Senior Supervisor Abraham Hunter.

Claudette Guinn, the Veterans Affairs and Counseling Center’s Certifying Official, presented awards. She has been the backbone for twenty five years. The BC Veterans Office, assists veterans’ transition to college life, help with paperwork on deferments, registering and financial aid. They can also refer vets for counseling. They located in 0303 James Hall.

The USO singers ended with comedian Bob Hope’s theme song, Thanks for the Memories. The chicken, salmon, and lo mein prepared by Hillel got good reviews. An 81-year-old veteran said he served in wars, now he will serve himself the food for seconds.

(An On Campus Magazine of Brooklyn College article)

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