BY CARLOS DIAZ
On Nov. 10, at 12:30 p.m., a Veterans Day ceremony was hosted by the Student Veterans Organization at the COD Amphitheater. Speakers in the ceremony were Faculty Advisor Antoine Clerc and Student Veterans Organization President Mike Allen. The ceremony opened with the national anthem and the color guard walking onto stage representing the different branches of the United States military.
The color guard consisted of:
- Brian Atkinson, who carried the Army flag, is majoring in Engineering and served 13 years in the Marine Corps as a Radio Operator.
- John Mejia, who carried the Marine Corps flag, is majoring in Resource Management and served 13 years in the Marine Corps as an infantry unit leader.
- David Rocker, who carried the Navy flag, served seven years in the Army as a combat engineer and plans to major in Criminal Justice.
- Janet Castro carried the Air Force flag. Castro who plans to major in Health Science, served four years in the Marine Corps and is currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserve as a Motor Transport Operator.
- Alicia Taylor held the Coast Guard flag. Taylor served for five years in the Coast Guard. Taylor currently has a Bachelor Degree in Asian Languages and Literature and is currently attending prerequisite courses to become a Physical Therapist.
The ceremony had a VIP section that honored veterans:
- Seymour Kaplan was in the second Army tank division which fought Germans and Italians in Northern Italy under the command of General S. Patton.
- Frank James Cordero who fought for six years in freezing temperatures in the Korean War.
- William Marquez Schinsky was deployed in Vietnam as part of a Howitzer artillery squad from 1968 to 1969.
The official song of every military branch was played on the loud speakers, while members of each service would stand during each song.
Clerc and Allen thanked the COD professors for helping the veterans reach their potential, the COD Board of Trustees, Bighorn Golf Club Charities and all the donors who support veterans.
After the ceremony Clerc and Allen thanked all the veterans for their service and invited everyone to the student veterans room to talk with veterans and observe personal photos of soldiers and other kinds of memorabilia.
Kaplan talked about the experiences serving under General Patton. Kaplan was serving at a “repo” depot and was frustrated he was not able to get into the army. “Next thing before I knew it we were in the second armored division,” he said. He explained his fear about his new commander saying, “he was a tough son of a gun, the more they talked about him the more frightened we got.” Kaplan also said that if he had to do it all over again, he would be over there in a heartbeat.
Faculty Advisor and Iraq veteran Antoine Clerc explained how veterans want to help one another, “a lot of veterans want to have a career that serves and advocates for other veterans. We have a few that want to become psychiatrist and psychologist so that they can help others with their PTSD issues.”
For more information for the Students Veterans Organization and financial programs the Veterans Resource Center is located on the Palm Desert campus in the Cravens Student Center, room 125.