La Verne honors veterans’ service

La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick, a Navy veteran, receives an engraved keychain bullet from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Commander Reginald Mitchell Friday at the Veterans Day ceremony in front of Veterans Hall. The ceremony included a four-block march from the University. The University is in the process of creating a veteran student center. / photo by Janelle Kluz
La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick, a Navy veteran, receives an engraved keychain bullet from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Commander Reginald Mitchell Friday at the Veterans Day ceremony in front of Veterans Hall. The ceremony included a four-block march from the University. The University is in the process of creating a veteran student center. / photo by Janelle Kluz

Christina Garcia
Copy Editor

The University of La Verne partnered with the city of La Verne and the La Verne Veterans of Foreign Wars organization to recognize servicemen and servicewomen for Veterans Day Friday at Veterans Hall on Bonita Avenue.

“Everything we have is because of the guys before us and the guys still protecting our rights,” said Christopher Padilla, Navy veteran and senior speech communication major.

The event began in front of Founders Hall, where Provost Jonathan Reed gave a short speech to thank the student veterans on campus, and he announced that the University is in the process of creating a veterans student center in the next few years.

Padilla also thanked Reed and the University administration for supporting veteran students and allowing the Student Veterans of America club to advocate for the veteran student population on campus.

Following the short opening, students, faculty, staff and veterans began the four-block walk to Veterans Hall, where the city of La Verne holds its annual Veterans Day event.

Diana Towles, coordinator of veteran students success, said the University has been in discussion to decide if the University should close for Veterans Day.

“The challenge is that we still want to have events to honor our veterans, but attendance could be an issue if campus is closed,” Towles said.

“It’s not just about staying home, it’s about honoring their service.”

The event at Veterans Hall began with the presentation of the flag and a call to assemble by the Master of Ceremonies Dan Harden.

The La Verne Lutheran High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps raised the flag.

La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick gave a speech to thank the city for supporting the veteran population.

As a Navy veteran himself, Kendrick told the story of his re-entrance into civilian life in 1974 and how veterans were not appreciated then as they are today.

Kendrick said the city of La Verne began to celebrate Veterans Day in the early 1990s.

Back then, the Veterans Day celebration began with 10-15 people in attendance and expanded from there.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Commander Reginald L. Mitchell also provided a few words to thank the city for supporting and helping further the aims of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The ceremony continued with a musical salute to the veterans.

Designated songs for each branch of the military and songs that embodied the times of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Gulf Wars were played.

The event ended with a closing prayer from Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Roy Halberg.

“It feels good, especially in this time after the election, to be honored and also honor those veterans before us,” said Charles Olsen, La Verne alumnus and Navy veteran.

Mitchell said after hosting the Veterans Day event with the University, he looks forward to future collaborations for other events.

“I’m grateful for the event,” said Robert Kehrberg, senior computer science major and Student Veterans of America club president.

“A lot of us are spread out at the University. Being able to gather and be around other veterans brings a familiar feeling with the bond of brotherhood.”

Christina Garcia can be reached at christina.garcia2@laverne.edu.

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