By Rose Miller, Staff Reporter
This past Veterans Day, students honored servicemen and women in a small gathering held in Robert’s Courtyard. Following the ceremony, Student Life hosted a table for making ribbons for veterans where they were then displayed for a few days above the ramp leading up to The Beach. According to President Kathryn Foster, 2015 will be the last year classes are in session on the holiday.
In attendance was Former Marine Warren Barter. “It was just a couple of us there,” said Barter. “My buddy James and I, we served together.” He explained that the group went around and said a few words about “the people we think of on Veteran’s day,” and held a moment of silence in honor of all veterans everywhere.
President Foster and Director of Student Life Brian Ufford were also in attendance along with some members of the College Republicans according to Barter. Foster and Ufford both explained how in the past, UMF had celebrated Veteran’s Day with a more formal luncheon, but opted for the smaller ceremony this year.
Having attended one of these larger events previously, Barter was more partial to this year’s ceremony. It was much smaller and less formal he explained, “which is good from a veteran’s perspective.” Although he considers himself to be somewhat more vocal about his experiences than some other veterans he explained how that’s not always been easy, especially in a formal setting. “It can be difficult to talk about,” said Barter. “The smaller the better.”
This year the commemorative ceremony and other campus sponsored events related to Veteran’s Day were held at common-time, where students could participate in between classes, but 2015 will be the last year that UMF will hold classes on the holiday. While the timing of the decision was simultaneous with the adoption of the universal calendar between UMaine campuses, Foster explained that UMF wanted to enact this change regardless.
“UMF has a long history of students and staff or faculty who are military veterans, reservists, National Guard, and active duty military,” said Foster, “It’s important to pay tribute to their sacrifice and service.” Foster mentioned that her own father and grandfather were both veterans.
Both Foster and Ufford emphasized how the prevalence of veterans and active military personnel on campus is greater than people think. In an effort to recognize these individuals and allow any student who’s close to a veteran or has lost somebody in the service to acknowledge them, Student Life provided colored paper ribbons for people to write a name on and display on the wall.
Several members of Student Life sat at a long table in front of WUMF encouraging students to come participate. “It’s another way to honor those who are serving,” said Kayla Tremblay of the ribbon project.
Ufford and Hope Abarno, Assistant Director of Student Life, explained that they tried to find a way to engage students. “I think the ribbons will give people an idea of how intertwined the military is with the university,” said Ufford.
Barter also mentioned that an important part of having the holiday off next year is that it gives students who wouldn’t normally be able to go home to be with family the opportunity to do so.