Community celebrates veterans and their service

Maj. David Liapis (then Lt.), Air Force ROTC Detachment 895 Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies, converses with members of the Royal Netherlands Army while touring a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft that was parked at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, May 7, 2013.

Maj. David Liapis (then Lt.), Air Force ROTC Detachment 895 Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies, converses with members of the Royal Netherlands Army while touring a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft that was parked at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, May 7, 2013.

Noah Wright , Contributor

On Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. the world saw the end of World War I. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month ended four years of violence which impacted the entire globe. 

More than 100 years later, the U.S. still celebrates Veterans Day with time off to remember those who have served the U.S. military. However, Nov. 11 is much more than just a day off from school and work. 

Though Veterans Day is on Thursday this year, there will be events on campus and in Ellensburg during what is known as Remember Everyone Deployed (R.E.D) week to show support. 

Ruben Cardenas, director of the CWU Veterans and a veteran who served in the Washington National Guard from 2004 to 2010, said, “We have started a tradition of leaving flags on campus every 10 feet” for the celebratory week.

On Monday Nov. 8, members of the CWU Veterans Center along with cadets from the Air Force and Army ROTC programs placed flags from University Way to Dean Nicholson. 

On Tuesday, there was a showing of Unbroken, the Luis Zamperini story. Wednesday, the school celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday, and on Friday, the flag display will be taken down.   

While the campus will be closed Thursday for observation, Cardenas said, “In town there is a Veterans parade. It’s amazing how many vets we have in the community.”

Cardenas said he enjoys the parade because it is a time where the community can be happy, forget differences and come together for an important and common cause.

Maj. David Liapis, Air Force ROTC Detachment 895 Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies, poses with an orphan who shared his love for playing guitar while visiting an orphanage in Comayagua, Honduras Aug. 6, 2016.

“Veterans Day is a great day because it emphasizes that there are sacrifices that people make while serving,” Major David Liapis, Air Force ROTC assistant professor of aerospace studies, said. “Serving in the Military is very rewarding, but people can be physically or mentally injured. Only 1% of the population of the United States, the other 99% don’t have an idea of what Vets really have to go through.”

Liapis, who has been a part of the military for a little over 17 years and was part of the foundational team that built the Space Force, said that while Memorial Day honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives defending the United States, Veterans Day is important because it acknowledges that even the service man and woman who return home gives something while they are fighting.

At CWU, there is a lot of support for student veterans, according to Ralf Greenwald, associate professor of psychology and Navy Veteran who served for six years from 1988 to 1994.

Greenwald said some “people forget that they are not just people that served the country. Now they are also students and they tend to be really good students who have a lot to offer. I think it’s nice to recognize that there is a population of CWU that has a very different life experience.”

Greenwald said CWU has a good sized student veteran population and that he is appreciative of the “commitment that CWU has to the community.”

Not only does CWU have a Veteran Book Club, where students both vet and non-vet can come together to share experiences through literature, but according to Greenwald, CWU is the first institution in the Pacific Northwest to have a Veteran’s National Honors Society.

For those who are unsure how to honor veterans in the community, Maj. Joseph Paolilli, department chair and professor of military science who has been part of the U.S. Army for over 20 years, said that there are a couple ways to show your support. 

“Firstly, veterans are everywhere, whether you realize it or not,” Paolilli said. “Thank people for their service, there’s always that.”

You can also find a veteran service organization, such as the Veterans Center, because they have agendas designed to help vets. Or you can just take part in the events that are going on around the campus during the week. 

“There are people that serve and those that don’t, but it has caused a disconnect,” Paolilli said. “Finding ways to reconnect the general public with our service men and women will allow people to support better.”

And for those who do not feel comfortable with Veterans Day, for whatever reason it may be. While Liapis, Cardenas, Greenwald and Paolilli all agreed that is your right as an American citizen, Paolilli said, “don’t be hateful, you might not want to celebrate but keep it to yourself.” 

Greenwald added that “if you know a veteran, if you have one in your family, taking the time to show your appreciation is great. However, it is not something that anyone expects.”