Hidden around the University of La Verne campus are several memorial sites honoring the fallen.
Those two giant oak trees in Sneaky Park are dedicated to Cecil Cox and Elwood Miller, who were killed in World War I in 1918, the first La Verne alumni to give their lives in wartime service.
On the east wall of Founders Hall there’s another plaque recognizing five more alumni who died in World War II: Stanley J. Hunter, James J. Johnson, Norman C. Jones, Glen E. Thomas and William Orion Cottle. On the corner of Third and C streets is another World War commemoration marker.
Now, the time has come to add another memorial.
Since the beginning of the War on Terror in 2001, 3,163 American soldiers have given their lives in Iraq, and another 536 have done so in Afghanistan.
Among those are two ULV alumni: Cpl. Bernard Corpuz, who was killed by an IED attack in Ghanzi, Afghanistan, on June 11, 2006; and First Lt. Jared Landaker, whose helicopter crashed near Fallujah, Iraq, on Feb. 7, 2007.
With these deaths, the war is no longer an abstract conflict fought in some far away land in cities many Americans cannot pronounce. The war has finally hit home.
Last month the city of La Verne held a military reception honoring residents and families of La Verne soldiers serving in Iraq. In February 2006, La Verne had 85 personalized military banners placed on lamp posts throughout La Verne. Along with the banners, La Verne’s own Military Banner Program promises that for those returning after their service they will be presented with their street banner tied with a yellow bow.
But what about those who don’t return?
Corpuz, Landaker and any future alumni killed in the ongoing War on Terror deserve to have the same honor as those alumni killed in World War I and II. Their sacrifice was just as great.
As a University, we should make it a priority to appreciate and honor our soldiers. A similar memorial for these latest casualties should come sooner rather than later. ULV should honor those fallen soldiers while the war is still going on and not wait until it is over.
Another way the University can honor these soldiers is by recognizing Veterans’ Day on campus. Not only does the University not get the day off of school, the holiday isn’t even recognized with events on campus.
On Nov. 13, 2006, Claremont McKenna College had Major General William McCoy as their Veterans’ Day Commemoration Speaker. Cal Poly Pomona considers Veterans’ Day as one of its academic holidays. According to La Verne’s academic calendar this year, Nov. 11 is simply termed “ Last day to make grade option changes.”
It’s time the University follows the lead of the city of La Verne and neighboring colleges in recognizing the importance of Veterans’ Day and why it has become a celebrated national holiday. The University should take time on that day to honor fallen soldiers of past wars and the current war (as well as those who are still serving).
If we’re all going to be at school anyways, shouldn’t there be a commemoration speaker on our campus as well? This is an important issue that the University should consider when taking into account that troops in Iraq may increase over the next year and so far there doesn’t seem to be an end to this war.
Here at Campus Times, our hearts go out to those serving in the war and their families.