LV Life Editor
The University of La Verne honored veterans during a celebration that began at Sneaky Park and ended at a ceremony outside of Veterans Hall.
About 20 people marched from Sneaky Park to the Veterans Hall ceremony hosted by the city of La Verne and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12034 Monday.
Marc Soto, president of the Veteran Student Success Club, celebrated his first Veterans Day at the University.
Soto, who served in the Marine Corps, thanked the administration and Diana Towles, coordinator for the Center for Veteran Students Success, for bringing the center to fruition.
“That house is something we really needed,” Soto said. “This is my first Veterans Day celebration at La Verne and I am humbled and proud to be part of the celebration.”
President Devorah Lieberman said veteran recognition should be celebrated year-round.
“We are living in a world where having a strong military is critical,” Lieberman said. “We are here today to thank everybody who has served. If it was not yourself or a family member serving in the military, we all know at least one person who has served.”
She said across the University’s nine campuses 900 students are active military members or their dependents.
“In the next 10 years, at least 1.4 million veterans will need a college degree,” Lieberman said.
“We (at ULV) have to do whatever it takes to provide that quality education and the support system so every veteran who wants or needs to be educated has that opportunity.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12034 ceremony paid homage to those who have served in the military.
“As a member of the VFW Post 12034, I can tell you how important and special it is to experience a national demonstration of gratitude,” said Dan Harden, Air Force Veteran and master of ceremonies. “It takes courage for a soldier, marine, sailor, airman and coast guardsmen to risk life and limb for their country.”
The VFW Post 12034 was established in 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service, according to the official VFW Post 12034 website.
Today membership of the VFW Post 12034 stands at 1.7 million members.
Members of the post, also known as the band of brothers, took turns sharing the years they served, ending with saying “I fought for you.”
They also shared their service in the five branches of military spent in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger thanked the families who bear the burden of their loved ones serving in the armed forces.
“I salute the selfless sacrifice of our men and women in uniform,” Barger said. “All have given some, but some have given all.”
Barger said once service members can return home, they should be supported fully from the community.
“When we talk about the issue of homelessness, I always say the words homelessness and veterans should never be used in the same sentence,” she said.
“While the troops are away they are tasked with preserving the homefront and keeping their families together,” Barger said. “We are so grateful when we can welcome our service members home again.”
Commander of the Post Daniel Lopez said veterans come from all walks of life but share qualities of courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity.
“Many of them did not ask to leave their homes to fight on distant battlefields,” Lopez said. “Many did not volunteer or go to war because they love fighting. They were called to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
Lopez thanked those who have risked their life for the freedom of others.
“Today our troops continue to make the ultimate sacrifices,” Lopez said. “As we lose troops, more Americans step forward to say I am ready to serve. I say to all you veterans may this day and every day honor you for the service, sacrifice, dedication, and loyalty you have given this great country of ours.”
Layla Abbas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.