By Spencer Ames
Memorial Day is a day where citizens of the United States come together to appreciate the veterans who have sacrificed so much, some even their lives, to protect our country. The American veterans deserve so much more than a single day of the year to recognize their service, as they have suffered through physical, mental and societal challenges as a result of their time in the service.
“I don’t see Memorial Day as a holiday,” said Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) student Dakota Marshall. “I see it as a day of remembrance.”
Memorial Day might only be one day out of the year, but 4Cs has recently added a Veterans Center on the second level of the Wilkens Library. The Veterans Center is a place where enrolled vets can go to have a designated peaceful study area and a free cup of coffee.
4Cs Military and Veteran Service Advisor Katie Downer expressed that she would love to see more veterans at the lounge so that they can be in a comfortable environment where they can potentially share their troubles with one another.
“It provides a space for them that makes them feel comfortable,” said Downer. “There is a huge transition from going from a military lifestyle to a civilian lifestyle. Having this lounge is a space where veterans can come and have a space to feel comfortable with their peers.”
Downer is an Air Force veteran, so she can truly empathize with these students and work to help them conquer any obstacles that they might face within a college environment.
There are roughly 140 veterans taking classes at 4Cs but looking around it is almost impossible to tell because for the most part they don’t advertise it to the public.
“I visit a lot of the different classes to give presentations about veterans and every once in a while, I’ll meet a student that says they’re a veteran,” said Downer. “My hope is that I can make the Veterans Center a more prevalent place.”
Memorial Day is on Monday, May 27, and since there is no school during this time, it could present students the spare-time and opportunity to show their appreciation to these brave men and women. One way to give back would be going to a memorial service at one of the local cemeteries and honoring the fallen soldiers that fought for our freedom by putting American flags by each gravestone. People have done this in the past, as a sign of respect for those that sacrificed everything for our country.
4Cs has built a close-knit community among all who attend. It’s important for both students and faculty to honor and assist all who come here to learn, whatever their past might be or what unique challenges they face. Having a Veterans Service office is just one small way that 4Cs aims to strengthen this community bond and recognize the sacrifices of these soldiers.