GC Community Honors Fallen Veterans and Opens Student Veteran Center

The auditorium of Garrett College was reverentially quiet as the first of 52 community members stepped to the podium to begin reading the names of service members from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia who lost their lives in Vietnam. In all 4,894 names were on the list of those honored and memorialized during the National Roll Call. A slide show of Vietnam military personnel provided a backdrop for this commemoration held Monday, Nov. 12, in recognition of Veterans Day.

This was the second year that Garrett College joined the Remembrance Day National Roll Call to honor American service men and women by hosting simultaneous ceremonies across the nation.

Chuck Nolan, a Veteran Marine, was among the readers. This was his second year to participate in this event. “This year was particularly important to me because I was reading names of those who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam where I served. I was both proud and thankful to be able to recognize my comrades who paid the ultimate price. I am still here with my family. These people are not here. So reading their names gave me the opportunity to say to them, ‘I will see you on the other side, my friends,’” he said.

Nolan had also provided some of his own military equipment used in Vietnam for display both on the stage and in the lobby. When he finished reading names, he turned toward the displayed items on the stage, which represented the service men and women who died in battle, and bowed in deference. “When I did that, I saw my own helmet there and thought again that it could have been me who lost my life. But I was among the fortunate ones. This ceremony is about those who did not come home.”

Following the reading of the Roll Call, which continued until 2 p.m., a minute of silence was observed simultaneously on all participating colleges in the country. The silence was followed by Cecil Glotfelty playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

The next event on the Garrett College campus was the dedication of the Garrett College Student Veterans’ Center officiated by College President Dr. Richard MacLennan. He recognized the support and contributions of time, labor, and goods from all sectors of the community that made the creation of this separate and important space possible.

Dr. MacLennan, himself a military veteran, spoke of the importance of providing this center for student veterans. “It symbolizes our interest, as an institution of higher education, and commitment to developing our knowledge about veterans’ issues and needs, both within and outside the classroom. That we understand and appreciate that the veterans coming to our campus are unique learners and have perspectives and experiences vastly different from their traditional counterparts,” he said.

Following Dr. MacLennan’s comments, a number of other honored guests spoke of the significance of this dedication and commitment. Among those speakers were Ken Lillie, President of the Garrett College Student Veterans’ Organization; Jerry Boden, Chief of Staff, Maryland Department of Veterans’ Affairs; Jim Raley, Garrett County Commissioner; Wendell Beitzel, Maryland State Delegate; George Edwards, Maryland State Senate; Robin Summerfield, Representing U.S. Senator Ben Cardin; Julianna Albowicz, Representing U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski; and Kathy Fauber, GC Financial Aid/Veterans’ Affairs Counselor.

A symbolic ribbon cutting was then held on the stage of the auditorium followed by a reception and tours of the new Student Veterans’ Center.

The day’s events concluded with a 21-gun salute and the playing of TAPS by members of the VFW Post 10077.

Kathy Fauber, GC Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs Counselor, spearheaded to organization of the Veterans Day ceremonies. “This was an amazing event. So many people came together to honor our service members who have fallen and those who are with us today. I’m so proud of the community for the overwhelming response and willingness to give of themselves. Of the 120 colleges participating in the National Role Call, Garrett College had the highest number of volunteer readers,” she said.

More information about Veteran Services at Garrett College is available by calling 301-387-3057 or visiting www.garrettcollege.edu