UD community gathers to honor veterans
Photos by Doug Baker November 10, 2017
Sen. Tom Carper shares a message of hope on Veterans Day
Veterans Week events at the University of Delaware continued Friday, Nov. 10, with the fourth annual flag ceremony. The crowd huddled on The Green between the 6,940 flags planted Monday and the stage that was erected for Thursday’s Delaware First Festival.
Students and veterans, faculty and staff, including UD President Dennis Assanis and Interim Provost Robin Morgan, were in attendance. A formation of ROTC students in camouflage uniforms was also stationed near the crowd.
The event took place in the morning on The Green in front of Memorial Hall. Soldiers set up the U.S. flag and a military flag and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed. Blue Hen Veterans President Lindsey Baryluk opened the ceremony by introducing U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and State Sen. Anthony Delcollo.
Carper, who served in the Vietnam War as a naval flight officer, started his speech with a lighthearted joke about the cold weather and biting wind. He went on to discuss his concerns with how returning veterans are sometimes treated and what he wants to do to change that.
“Today, when people come home, we welcome them,” said Carper. “I don’t know of any other state that does that. They come home to the best GI Bill in the country.”
He noted that $70 billion of funding has gone to the GI Bill since 2009. Carper praised UD’s efforts for veterans, but said he fears some universities are taking advantage of veterans and abusing GI benefits. As a result, he introduced legislation Thursday in the hopes applying greater regulation to for-profit colleges.
Carper tried to convey a message of hope, pointing to examples throughout history where the U.S. came back from difficult times. Nearing the end of his speech, he asked the audience to recite the preamble of The Constitution with him. The crowd repeated as he led:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
“At the end of the day, these are words on a piece of paper made real by the sacrifice of the veterans who we honor today and tomorrow, this weekend and this year, and for as long as we’re a nation,” said Carper.
Delcollo spoke briefly about his appreciation for our veterans.
“This day should serve as a reminder to all of us of the depth of sacrifice and what that service means and how valuable it is to our country,” Delcollo said.
Marine Lance Cpl. Marvin Smith is on active duty and a UD graduate student. He was among the crowd who said they appreciated UD’s efforts at helping veterans.
“I kind of believe in the saying that ‘all gave some, some gave all,’ ” Smith said. “This event kind of helps bring that into perspective.”
The University has a long history with veterans dating back to the Morrill Act of 1862. This act required military training as part of the curriculum. More recently, the University entered into a new partnership with the Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center to focus on research to improve care for America’s military veterans. UD also ranked fourth among the Top 10 Gold Military Friendly School Award winners in the category of Tier One Research Institutions for 2017, according to Military Friendly, an organization owned and operated by veteran-owned Victory Media.
Baryluk closed the ceremony, thanking the Blue Hen Veterans board for their hard work.
“Our veterans deserve a lot more, but we’ve done what we can,” she said.
Three events will close Veterans Week. On Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m., the Blue Hen Veterans will have a tailgate in the first row of the gold parking lot prior to the final home football game of the season at Delaware Stadium. Later that evening, the group is hosting a black-tie Veterans and Military Ball. Proceeds will benefit veteran support services at UD. Doors open at 7 p.m. At noon, Sunday, Nov. 12, the group is looking for volunteers to help remove the flags from The Green. The flags were planted Monday to honor veterans.
About the Blue Hen Veterans
Blue Hen Veterans is a registered student organization recognized through the University Student Centers. The mission of BHV is to provide military veterans with the support and advocacy needed to successfully transition to college and excel academically, and to gain employment after graduation.