Veterans visit SCSU for Veterans’ Day Ceremony

Dylan HavilandGeneral Assignment Reporter 

Veterans both alumni and current students of Southern Connecticut State University stood up in turns, each dressed in their unique uniform that signified their branch of military.

Though the veterans were dressed in their best uniforms they were not exchanging formalities, but instead reading letters 6th graders wrote from Shepard School in Hamden and Common Ground, New Haven.  The letters spoke of genuine thanks to veterans and what they have accomplished for the country and the rest of the world, one child cleverly wrote society being like the ‘Hunger Games’ without veterans.

The heartfelt letters summarized the respect and understanding society holds towards veterans, as a part of SCSU’s Veteran’s Day Ceremony hosted in Engleman Hall.

“Veteran’s day is a day set aside to honor and thank our living veterans, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated and underscore the fact that all those who serve or are serving are doing so at great sacrifice,” said Jack Mordente, director of the Veteran’s Affairs office.

Mordente, a veteran who served in the US Army, has been reaching out towards SCSU veterans since 1975.  His main goal is to help men and women integrate into student life and society outside of combat.

Joseph D’Amico a SCSU alumni, 1st Lt. in the Air Force Reserve and former Sgt. of the Marine Corps, spoke of the contributions Mordente has made towards his life as a student and veteran.

“Jack has gone back to me for jobs in the past, he’s always a good resource for career advice so when certain openings come up he’ll think of you,” said D’Amico.  “Utilize and explore the resources available to you whatever your benefits are, Jacks the guy for that, don’t squander any opportunity that is presented to you through the vet’s club.”

Mordente stressed that veterans must use communication to talk about their past experiences and thoughts, explaining that sometimes it’s difficult to adjust to civilian lifestyles.   He and several other veterans mention the lounge at the Veteran’s Affairs office in Engleman, where veterans and anyone who pleases can meet and talk to each other.

The veterans attending the event fondly expressed their use of communication with each other, throughout the ceremony the young men and women in good humor commentated on each other’s branches.  Their conversations with each other exhibited the comradeship of the military, how unbreakable bonds are formed among people.

To lead the conversation on what it means to be a veteran and a student, Hendrik Soresen, Army National Guard, Britt Conroy, air force and Derek Torrella, US Marine Corps addressed the audience.

Torrellas, spoke about his bonds with the military and the inspiration he draws from them.  He reflected back to a time in his youth while at a Memorial Day parade, where he saw returning veterans.

“I saw dozens and dozens of guys in their 20s and 30s wearing the old desert camouflage uniform so I realized it’s not just someone on a TV or movie, it’s a real person someone who is there, someone who did something and came back,” said Torrellas.

Torrellas read aloud a passage from the book, “The Last Good War” which explained the horrors of war but also the unity Americans experienced during WW II.  WW II veterans, Torrellas explained need to be remembered for the sacrifices they made in a time of great evil and struggle.

He and many other veterans at SCSU are all active in the veteran’s club, actively discussing their lives with each and bonding over their past and current military experience.

Photo Credit: Dylan Haviland

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