A somber Tuesday evening set the scene for California Baptist University’s Veterans Day event, with a host of flags surrounding Stamps Courtyard as a ceremony was held to commemorate those who served the United States in the military.
Throughout Veterans Day, students were encouraged to write cards to give military veterans to thank them for their service. They were also given yellow ribbons to show their support for those who fought for their country.
“The goal was to make sure the veterans of our campus were honored for the service they gave to us,” said Rory Todd, resident director for the Village Apartments, who helped create the event. “We gave out Lancer Strong shirts to every student and faculty member who served, as well, because we wanted to find a way to identify them throughout the day.”
That night, a ceremony was held to commemorate the military veterans. The first speaker at the event was Rusty Bailey, mayor of Riverside, who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1994. He recognized those in the crowd who served as veterans, as well as those in uniform.
The mayor also spoke about his brother who served in the armed forces and recognized the families of veterans, as well as the struggles they face.
“We want to thank you first and foremost, and ask for special blessings upon all of the active military personnel who are serving our country today,” Bailey told the veterans present during his speech. “I want to thank you for your service to our country. I appreciate it very much.”
After Bailey spoke, Jacob Williams, senior applied theology major at CBU and U.S. Airborne Infantry veteran, took the stage to recount what it was like to sacrifice time and effort for the good of his country.
Williams, who lost his right hand during his tour in 2007 to a bomb that went off next to him, said it was a blessing even now to have served his fellow soldiers and his country.
“The only reason why I am standing here is because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ so many years ago,” Williams said, afterward quoting President Abraham Lincoln: “We here highly resolve the dead shall not have died in vain. There is no greater good for one to lay die their life for the sake of another.”
For students who attended the event, the realization that there were people even on campus who served their country in such a visible way was a powerful experience.
Silvia Bolanos, senior nursing major, said that it showed her the reality of what people go through when they either serve or have families in the armed services.
“It was very meaningful, it’s not something a college, university, or even community would do,” Bolanos said. “It’s not something that we think about every day, but it’s families’ realities every day.”