By Briana SmithSPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Since 1919, Americans have been celebrating Armistice Day, now known as Veterans Day, in celebration and tribute of veterans, living and deceased that served and fought for freedom of United States citizens.
On Nov. 6, at 11:30 a.m., students, faculty, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) and Lt. Col. David Daniel, department chair and professor of Military Science, gathered on the south side of Memorial Quad in memory of their nation’s heroes.
Hofstra’s PanHellenic Association started these ceremonies about 19 years ago when an executive board representative’s family member fought in a war, according to Mario Bolanos, the assistant director of the Office of Student Leadership and Activities and advisor of Greek life.
“At the end of the day, the soldiers are fighting for our freedom and liberty,” said Bolanos. “I think it’s a great way for the Greeks to give back to the community and show appreciation.”
Isabel Corella, the vice president of the PanHellenic Association and coordinator of the ceremony, said the number of non-Greek members, who attend the service increases each year.
According to Corella, it is a grave mistake many people don’t appreciate veterans and their service usually goes unrecognized.
“I am eternally grateful for the service they provide to protect this country,” Corella said. In particular she especially appreciates her brother who is a war veteran as well.
According to the 2011 Veteran Population Projection Model from the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 919,000 veterans reside in New York. 30 percent of the 75 cadets in Hofstra’s R.O.T.C. program attend this university, and there are two cross-enrolled veterans said Daniel, who has served in the army for almost 24 years.
“Each one of the ceremonies renews my faith that America has hope for her future,” Daniel said. “We recognize the men and women who make our way of life possible, and Hofstra's ceremonies helps keep veteran's at the forefront of America's collective conscience.”
The audience sat in silence during the presentation of the color guard, as the “National Anthem,” “God Bless the USA,” and “America the Beautiful,” were sung by sorority affiliates. Thoughtful poems and prayers were also recited and the famous military bugle call, TAPS, filled the air.
Before leaving the podium for the last time, Daniel asked the audience to take a moment to acknowledge the soldiers’ hard work, dedication and the sacrifices made for this country.
“Today,” said Daniel. “We must give the soldiers a heartfelt thank you.”