CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – To commemorate Islander student veterans, military branches and war veterans service to community and country, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted a Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 10, in the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Plaza. There are currently more than 500 student veterans pursuing academic degrees at the Island University.
“We gather to honor all service members and remember the sacrifices they have made to defend our nation and freedoms,” said Dr. Don Albrecht, Vice President for Student Engagement and Success at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “It is a privilege to say thank you and show our appreciation for their commitment to defend our nation.”
The event started with the Posting of Colors by the A&M-Corpus Christi ROTC Islander Army Battalion Color Guard and the National Anthem was performed by Eli Gonzalez, a senior music major. In addition, a wreath was presented, a moment of silence was observed and “Taps” was played by Dr. Mary Thornton, Associate Professor of Music at A&M-Corpus Christi. Guest speakers included retired Navy Captain Steve Banta, Outgoing Commander of the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Army Depot; Luis Buentello, Field Representative for Congressman Blake Farenthold; and Tommy Reyna, A&M-Corpus Christi Student Veteran Organization (SVO) President. The celebration was emceed by Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Ann DeGaish, Chair of the TAMU-CC Veteran’s Affairs Committee.
The Veterans Day Celebration not only gathered military servicemen and women, but also the Islander community, Veterans family members and students and teachers from the Early Childhood Development Center, who waved U.S. flags throughout the ceremony.
“To celebrate our Veterans on a day like this is to celebrate the best this country has to offer,” said Reyna. “But at the same time, it should not serve as a day to place our Veterans on a pedestal. Rather, I hope that by recognizing our Veterans today, we are all reminded of our own sacred obligations of service to society.”
During the ceremony, Dr. Sarah Skelton, psychologist at the University Counseling Center (UCC), presented the SVO’s President a flag that flew in Taji, Iraq during operations. Skelton is a combat veteran and has served in Texas Army National Guard for the last 13 years. She provided behavioral health care to 2,500 soldiers in Kuwait and Iraq, and now is working with the UCC to provide safe and confidential counseling sessions for student veterans.
“When I think of the contributions our student veterans bring to campus, I am filled with pride and want to acknowledge them and the positive influence they are creating on campus,” said Skelton. “Our student veterans are amazing and we celebrate their success as well as their military contributions.”
For more information about the Island University’s campus and community resources for Veterans, visit vets.tamucc.edu.