Wednesday November 12- The second annual Veteran’s Day Celebration at NJIT actually took place the day after the official nationally recognized date. Despite the delay, veterans and their families came to the event in the ballroom to honor the proud men and women who served in the armed forces.
Introduced at the celebration was the newly formed Veteran Student Organization, which also served as one of the organizers of the event. Kevin Darczuk, the president of VSO, represented the organization, which was formed this semester, at the celebration. The Assistant to the Dean of Parent and Veteran Services, Anthony Culpepper, formed the organization after a query judging the interest of such an organization.
Kevin described the process of starting the organization. “I came back to study after 6 years to pursue a mechanical engineering degree.” He explained. “I felt like a small fish in a big pond. I was approached by Culpepper, who asked if there was an interest in forming an organization for veteran students. I missed the camaraderie from being in the military and I agreed. I met with a bunch of other interested people, and we got it up and running.”
Now, the organization is proud to serve NJIT’s veteran population, and co-hosted this event.
“Why do we need veterans and why should we honor them?” Article Section 2
At the celebration, several veterans, family members, and cadets spoke of their experiences with the military. These are their stories.
“I am proud to have served as a combat veteran, even though they dragged me kicking and screaming. I did what I had to do.” Angelo Perna, Veteran.
“We tend to forget about the family members who support us. I did two tours in Iraq. If I didn’t know that I had my family to go back to, I probably wouldn’t be here. I have been in a lot of battles, and I thought a lot about being with my family. I am saying to our family members ‘thanks.’ They are the ones that really stand behind us.” Will Augustin, Veteran that works at help desk.
“Thanks to everyone who served. It is the greatest honor. The only reason we are here today is because Americans fought to defend our country, and I hope to follow in their footsteps.”
“I spent 21 years, 8 months, and 28 days in the air force. I was in Saudi Arabia for 91 days. There, I lost 3 friends on that short tour. One of them was very, very close. They were on their way to Kuwait in a convoy. There were 6 of them, and I was supposed to be one of those 6, but I didn’t go. I dedicate this moment to those 3 fallen comrades.” Pat fields. Veteran that works in the registrar’s office.
“I served on the Saratoga. My ship was hauled off to the scrapyard recently. It was the strangest feeling.” Mark Arnowitz, Navy veteran.
“I joined because of 9/11. The smoke from ground zero drifted over to my middle school in 6th grade on September 12. Now, I help my team build a system for the air force. We are no longer fighting a clear cut enemy. I don’t have combat experience. I don’t know what the air force needs. But I am proud to say that I helped our fighters defend our secrets. It was one of the best feelings; knowing that I made a difference for our air force.” Captain Lau.
“From my experience in Iraq; I watched the kids come after us, trying to kill us, it was amazing and depressing. Even if we fix things now, we will always have enemies. We are always going to need veterans, because our enemies are never going to quit, and our leaders must solve our problems. I’ve seen the ultimate sacrifice when we leave our family. There is not a single mission or assignment where we don’t sacrifice at least one thing. We go and defend everyone, whether we know them or not.” Tina Brody. Staff sergeant Veteran.
“Thank you. Thanks, and support my wife, who is about to deploy again.” Princess Troy. Wife of soldier about to deploy.
“When I first came to NJIT, I didn’t know what I was going to do. Not even if I was going to finish college. When I saw the discipline and respect of ROTC, it was one of the best decisions of my life. Thank you, to the people that allowed us to stay free.” Cadet Sanchez.
“What is a veteran? They are no different from your neighbors, teachers, and friends. They know it’s a great privilege to serve our country. To help the weak, the needy. That is what makes our country so great: we have a core group willing to defend our ideas.” – Anthony Culpepper
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