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Veterans Day ceremony honors service, unites campus community

Published on November 10, 2023

Veterans Day ceremony honors service, unites campus community

Cadets Andrew Bluestein, Jake Kalson, Alexandria DeGunia, Alisa Zeltina and Luis Rodriguez-Veras were honored at the Veterans Day Ceremony's Presentation of Colors.

Eastern's Concert Chorale performed the national anthem at the Veterans Day Ceremony.

President Elsa Núñez during her President's Remarks.

Father Laurence "Larry" LaPointe, who led a session of reflections during Eastern's Veterans Day Ceremony.

Eastern Connecticut State University's ceremony in recognition of Veterans Day at the Student Center on Nov. 10 included several heartfelt speeches, reflections from Father Laurence "Larry" LaPointe, a presentation of colors and a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Eastern’s Concert Chorale.

President Elsa Núñez reflected on the development of Eastern’s first Veterans Day ceremony, when a student at the time helped her realize that “you have to pay attention to what’s important to other people.”

Of importance to Núñez are her family’s ties to the military. Her grandfather served in World War I, her father served in World War II and her brother served in Vietnam. She said that she was raised by her father, an immigrant, “to love America.”

Núñez acknowledged Eastern’s Veterans Center, which opened in 2009. She was proud of Eastern’s way of “welcoming every veteran that crosses our campus.” This hard work has seen Eastern continually ranked as a Best College for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report.

At a time of social unrest on a global scale, Núñez offered sincere gratitude to those in the armed forces. “While we must never glorify war, we must honor and appreciate the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces today,” she said.

Núñez also acknowledged that “our nation’s history is not perfect,” but “we are moving forward.” She expressed thankfulness that those in the military fight for rights of American citizens, including “the right for me to stand before you and speak my mind openly.”

Capt. Robin Felder, keynote speaker at Eastern's Veterans Day Ceremony.

The event then pivoted to a keynote speech by Capt. Robin Felder, brigade operations officer of the 143rd Regional Support Group. “I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with you,” she said.

Felder acknowledged the hardships that members of the military face as well as the sacrifices that service members and their families make. She also also emphasized that “we must appreciate the good times we’ve had in the military.” She referred to her fellow service people as family.

Understanding that “not everyone can serve,” Felder also made her speech relatable by acknowledging the importance of a support system in a person's life. “Their unwavering support and love are the bedrock upon which we stand,” she said.

Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Passantino, who hosted the event, has worked with Felder for the past four years, initially in a subordinate role to her. He was proud to “bring my old commander up here” and expressed gratitude in her support of his “embedding myself into a whole new operating environment.”

Overall, Passantino was highly pleased with the turnout and outcome of the ceremony. “I am beyond humbled,” he said. “I am floored by the support I received from my office and across the campus community.”

Written by Noel Teter

Categories: Veterans